Hindu body concerned over delay in approval of marriage licences
Some eight pandits, who have been waiting since last year for approval of marriage licences, are growing concerned over the delay in the process.
Vishnu Bandhu, President of the Guyana Central Arya Samaj, a major Hindu umbrella organisation in Guyana, has expressed annoyance over the “push around” his organisation is getting from Government in its efforts to secure the marriage licences.
According to a report in today’s Guyana Times, Bandhu explained that applications to legally conduct Hindu weddings were submitted to the Public Security Ministry since October 2015 but to date no progress has been made: “The Guyana Central Arya Samaj made several follow-ups with Minister Khemraj Ramjattan and the ministry staff since last year. Mr Ramjattan’s Ministry acknowledged receipt of the application but there was no action, saying it was working on the request.”
In March, Bandhu said his organisation was eventually informed that the processing will take place at the Citizenship Ministry.
However, the organisation was required to resubmit all documentations: “The Ministry however said it ‘lost’ all the applications and supporting documents and asked for a re-submission of same. The organisation again expeditiously resubmitted all the requested relevant supporting documents with attachments.”
The religious leader registered concerns over the push around his organisation has been receiving from the Citizenship Ministry, too.
He alleged that another Hindu organisation, which has close ties with the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition administration, also made submissions for marriage licences around the same time his organisation did and they were successful.
“Clearly, the more things change, the more they remain the same. The Guyana Central Arya Samaj is urging the Government to act in the best interests of all Guyanese and the nation at large,” Bandhu stated.
He also expressed that his involvement in politics could also be a factor for the slothfulness in the application process. Bandhu had contested as the presidential candidate for the United Republication Party (URP) in the General and Regional Elections 2015.
One of the pandits, who is waiting on approval for his marriage licence, also told this publication that it is rather inconvenient not having the licence: “I am a practicing pandit. I am doing all the rituals. So people would approach you. For example, I had to turn down a wedding offer a few weeks back because I wasn’t a marriage officer so I had to point him to somebody else,” Doodnauth Bowan from Clonbrook, East Coast Demerara (ECD) stated.
Nonetheless, he expressed that he has enough patience to wait until the process is completed: “I was told that the applications got misplaced and we reapplied. I am not that frustrated but I am still on the lookout for the licence. I have patience.”
Another pandit who spoke to this publication also noted that he is in no hurry to get his licence but is concerned about the run-around the organisation is receiving.
“The negligence on the part of the Ministry is worrying. We had a meeting with the Minister in his office, you know. After that, we got a message that they lost all the application and then they asked us to reapply which we did. Since then, to date, we haven’t heard anything,” Muneshwar Rup from Charity, Essequibo Coast, stated.
The organisation is calling on the relevant authorities to look into the matter and ensure the applications are processed swiftly.