Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 July 2014, 22:27 by GxMedia
The Guyana government on Wednesday scrapped its decision altogether for passport applicants to have new birth certificates but cautioned that getting a new travel document will now take much longer because authorities first have to verify identities.
“The Guyana Police Force through its Immigration Department will make all reasonable efforts to expedite the processing of the applications but the five (5) day processing time guaranteed by the Force is not likely to be honoured because of the need for a more robust verification process to accompany the production of the Travel Document,” the Home Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee confirmed to Demerara Waves Online News that recent High Court challenges have caused government to discard its decision. He also noted that the long wait by passport applicants by the now aborted new rule was another factor.
“Apart from that (the Court decision), that’s one of the factors…A lot of concerns were expressed by people getting birth certificates on time,” he said.
The Home Affairs Ministry said that all that passport applicants would need are a passport application form, birth certificate, one passport-size photograph and a fee of GUY$4,000. In relation to lost/damaged passport the processing fee is GUY$15,000, and additional conditionalities are required to be satisfied to facilitate issuance, said the ministry.
Worried about identity theft, the Home Affairs Ministry had announced that the Immigration Department was required to enforce the requirement for all applicants of machine readable passports to submit birth certificates not older than six months.
When the rule was tested in the High Court, the government lost and then extended the period to two years but that will also violate the High Court ruling.