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Guyana denies breaching rules to provide consular services in St. Maarten

Guyana’s Consul General to Barbados, Michael Brotherson

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday denied irregularities during the provision of consular services to Guyanese residing in Dutch St.Maarten.

Georgetown also announced that it was still awaiting a response from The Netherlands for the appointment of an official to provide consular services there.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform that in an effort to strengthen the relations between Guyana and St Maarten and to better serve the Guyanese community, a request was made to the Kingdom of the Netherlands for its approval for the appointment of a consular representative to be accredited in St Maarten. 
The Ministry is awaiting a response to this request,” said the Foreign Ministry here.

Demerara Waves Online News was told that the application was made in October, 2013. There are close to 3,000 Guyanese legally residing in Dutch St. Maarten but the overall population of those nationals is much higher when illegal residents are added.

Reacting to a damning article in the St. Maarten News Network (SMN) that Guyana’s Consul General to Barbados Michael Brotherson had allegedly provided consular services in violation of the rules and procedures, the Guyana government assured that his visit was made in keeping with St. Maarten’s rules. “This visit was made only after the necessary protocols were followed between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of St Maarten.”

The Foreign Ministry has since threatened to take the publisher of the St. Maarten News Network, Bibi Hodge Shaw to court if she continues to malign the characters of the public servants of Guyana and St. Maarten by making “unfortunate accusations that are totally unfounded.” Hodge had claimed that Brotherson and Antigua-based Vanessa Fraser had been huddled in a room at the Maho Resort providing consular services without adequate notice or a meeting with Guyanese residents. The reporter also claimed that fees paid were allegedly taken out of St.Maarten without the necessary paperwork.

On the matter of financial transactions for the provision of consular services, the Foreign Ministry advised that all consular fees, as fixed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Guyana, were processed in accordance with the financial regulations of the Government of Guyana, with the required Government receipts issued.  “All such revenue is remitted to the Government of Guyana Consolidated Fund.”