Indigenous Village leaders attending the 12th Annual National Toshaos Council Conference will be able to access passport application and birth registration services at the Arthur Chung Conference Centre, starting today, the Department of Public Information (DPI) has reported.
Last evening, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix engaged the 212 toshaos, who highlighted the difficulties in accessing critical services offered by the Central Immigration Passport Office and the General Registrar’s Office (GRO).
Chairman of the Aranaputa Valley Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) in Region Nine, Adon Jacobus, enquired whether the Central Immigration Passport Office and the General Registrar’s Office could make their staff available at the conference for the remainder of the week. According to Jacobus, this would allow the indigenous leaders to capitalise on those services while in Georgetown.
According to DPI, Minister Felix assured that he would not “allow this opportunity to go.” He committed to dispatching staff from the GRO and Passport Office to the Conference Centre by midday today.
Minister Felix also used the opportunity to stress the importance of birth registration, and the need for village leaders to play a more active role in ensuring persons are registered at birth.
On the issue of late registration, Minister Felix explained that his department has embarked on a massive education programme in the hinterland regions (One, Seven, Eight and Nine), where the bulk of the ‘non-registration’ lies. The department has persons responsible for the recording births at those locations.
Russian Dorrick, Toshao of Yupukari, North Rupununi (Region Nine) disclosed that since 2015, 56 residents of Yupukari and satellite villages have been without birth certificates, although the relevant documents were submitted.
Minister Felix, who was supported by the Deputy Registrar-General Louis Crawford, promised to have the GRO look into the matter, DPI said.