By Fareeza Haniff
[www.inewsguyana.com]–The Brazilian Mining and General Association is accusing the Ministry of Home Affairs of stalling the issuance of work permits to over 100 Brazilian workers.
At a press conference on Tuesday, April 01, Secretary of the Association, Antonio Szala deplored the lengthy process of granting the permits by the Ministry and accused police officers of extorting money from Brazilians.
Szala, who is also a Former Intelligence Officer of the Home Affairs Ministry, told reporters that approximately 141 names were submitted to the Home Affairs Ministry for permits to be granted since January, but to date no response has been forthcoming from the relevant authorities.
According to the Secretary, attempts were made to make contact with the person in charge of the Immigration department, but it was futile as the Association was constantly told that the person was out of office or in a meeting.
Szala told the news conference that the Brazilians find it expensive to pay their hotel fees as they have to wait for several months before receiving their work permits.
He also accused police officers at the Parika and Bartica Police Stations of extorting large sums of money from Brazilian workers. As such, the Secretary called for a system to be implemented where monies are paid directly to the Home Affairs Ministry or the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC) when it comes to the issue of work permits.
Meanwhile, iNews (www.inewsguyana.com) understands that the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Embassy of Brazil only recognizes the Guyana Brazil Development Institute to make representation on behalf of Brazilian miners, which is done free of cost.
A source, who is familiar with the work permit process, told iNews (www.inewsguyana.com) that the GGMC has published in the media a list of requirements and documentation that must be completed and submitted with an application for a work permit. It was noted that incomplete documentation was submitted in the past, causing the delay.
Additionally, iNews (www.inewsguyana.com) was also informed that an Inter – Ministry Task Force was established to deal specifically with work permit applications.