Letter: Depressing to do business with GRO

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Dear Editor,

I quote His Excellency Dr Irfan Ali, “It is we as a people who must change our attitudes, culture and values”. With this in mind I’m urging the relevant authorities to initiate a change in the manner in which the General Registration Office conducts business with the public. Currently, it is depressing and a heartache to do business with the staff at GRO.
A child was born to me in August 2020. I did the registration of his birth the following day.

I was told to apply for his birth certificate after two weeks, which I did. After applying for the birth certificate just after the two weeks’ period, I waited six months for the birth certificate to be posted to me. However, this wasn’t done.

I decided to visit the GRO, and was told that I have to reapply. This I did, anticipating that the birth certificate would be posted to me. I waited another three months, but to no avail. I visited again, and was told that my application could not be found, and that I should reapply again.

I must bring to your attention that on each occasion that I applied, I paid $600 for two copies of the certificate. Therefore, I would have spent $1200 for birth certificates but didn’t receive any. On the third occasion, although I had receipts to show I had applied, I was told to reapply, and had to pay again. I was also told to return one month later.
Moreover, another person who was there the same time I was there, and had a similar issue, was told to return the following day to uplift a birth certificate for her child.

Editor, it should be noted that the staff member who attended to me, and who preferred to be referred to as ‘the girl at the front desk’, is of the same ethnicity as the person who was told to return the following day to uplift the birth certificate.

What was more disappointing was that, when I returned a month later for the birth certificate, it was still not readily available, and I had to wait for more than three hours to collect my child’s birth certificate. I finally have a single birth certificate that is erroneous. However, because of my experience with the GRO, I prefer not to return to the office.
More recently, a colleague of mine applied for a death certificate, and was faced with the request to apply again, although she had the receipt.

It is sad that, to acquire basic documents of citizenship, Guyanese have to endure such hardships and be conned out of their hard-earned dollars by employees in Government offices.

Additionally, it is terrible that in this technological age, citizens have to wait so long to receive their documents. It makes me wonder if the staff at GRO are living in the age of the dinosaur.

Editor, this is not the first time I’m having issues with the GRO. I had issues regarding incorrect spelling of names in 2003 and 2015, when applying for birth certificates and marriage certificates respectively.

I’m suggesting that the relevant authorities do a thorough investigation of the operations at GRO.

Finally, I’m suggesting that the GRO put mechanisms in place to ensure the accuracy of certificates before posting them. This would discourage the use of the certificate for fraudulent activities.

Yours respectfully,
B Persaud