Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix said more persons are now able to access passports and other civic documents since the service was decentralised.
In an interview with the Government Information Agency (GINA), Felix explained that the government is currently working to acquire locations in Linden and New Amsterdam to set up passport offices.
“At the New Amsterdam location we have gone a stage further in terms of processing the papers. At the Linden location I’m at the initial stage. We are still at the stage where we were dealing with New Amsterdam and Linden on last year’s programme We also did some work in Parika and we’re currently we’re doing some visits to Lethem to provide them with them services as well,” Minister Felix explained.
The Minister of Citizenship said his Ministry aims to provide the services in as many communities as possible, thereby eliminating the need for persons to travel to Georgetown which can be time consuming and costly.
The minister noted that persons in the hinterland are among those who were recently able to apply for birth, marriage and death certificates in their communities “While these locations are not the core of the decentralisation programme, what we’re doing is taking the service to as many locations as possible to ensure that people get the service in their community and they don’t have to travel to Georgetown and waste a lot of hours to get a minor service done,” the minister explained.
Felix added that by the end of 2017, persons in all the ten administrative regions will be able to apply for birth, marriage and death certificates in their communities. He said persons are appreciative of the services provided and have been making full use of it.
“They are supporting it and coming in their numbers and I think it is set now for general acceptance use by others who may not have been familiar with it,” Minister Felix emphasised.
The Minister of Citizenship said the government is committed to providing improved services to all Guyanese, in or as close to their communities as possible.
In the 2017 National Budget, the sum of $625M was allocated for Citizenship and Immigration Services, including strategies to cover births, deaths and marriages, issuance of work permits and granting of citizenship. An additional $50M was budgeted for the establishment of two new passport offices.