Newly appointed Consul General of Guyana in New York, Hon. Michael Brotherson, on Nov. 19, announced the resumption of all service operation after the diplomatic office was on a limited schedule, with social distancing measures in place, due to the COVID pandemic.
The diplomat told Caribbean Life during his first community outreach at Restoration Temple Assembly of God in Brooklyn, that an appointment is not necessary, persons can visit the consulate’s 308 W 38th St., Manhattan location, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., to facilitate the processing of documents.
“We have an open-door policy. We want to serve nationals. Bear with us when we have any difficulty, but rest assured we are working towards your interest. Feel free to come into the consulate anytime. We look forwards to being of service to you,” said CG Brotherson of him, and staff.
Ambassador Brotherson, a former senior foreign officer in the Office of the President, where he was part of the team that oversaw the launch of Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy, and served as CG to Barbados, apologized for calls not being picked up in a timely manner and explained that a new system is now in place. This would allow for calls coming in, to roll-over to all extensions. A notification of missed calls will automatically go to the emails of staff who would return those calls he assured, after they are downloaded from the network.
Machine readable passport books, that have been in short supply due to the pandemic, arrived from Georgetown. As such, the backlog from July 2022, are being processed.
“This outreach is an extension of the regular services provided in the consulate. This helps the elderly, and persons, bedridden. Additionally, special cases of persons in nursing homes will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.”
The community service will be held approximately every two weeks. The next will be in Schenectady, followed by New Jersey, and Connecticut. The recent Brooklyn initiative saw a continuous stream of nationals being attended to by staff, said the CG.
Brotherson, former director of the Department of Bilateral Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and International Cooperation, said he met an establishment in place, when he joined the consulate in July of this year, but he is always looking to see where there could be improvement. He noted that New York has the largest diaspora, as such, it is difficult reaching everyone, and speaking to the hundreds of thousands of nationals.
“I am an open guy, I have my telephone extension, and cell number on my business card, which means I want to be contacted, sometimes much to the chagrin of my staff. But I want to be in contact with the people. I want to solve problems and make sure communities are served.”
CG Brotherson, a career diplomat for over 20 years, said he is grateful for the help from across the boroughs. “We are not perfect, but we are doing our best. My mandate is simple. Serve the communities in New York city.”
He said the consulate is not a hundred percent staffed but “we speak to Georgetown constantly to discuss challenges, like any other diplomatic office.”
“Most important, anyone can reach me at any time,” assured the diplomat, and former lead negotiator for Guyana on the UN Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, head of the Diaspora Unit, head of Public Affairs and Information Unit, and counsellor at the Guyana High Commission in London.
Indranie Persaud, who oversees the accounts department said the cost of a new passport is $100 and explained that the consulate would no longer renew passports, after five years a new one will be issued.
She stressed the importance of providing returned shipping that has a tracking number for persons applying by mail. The consulate would return it for a fee of $13.00. Cash/Debit/Credit would be in person. While money order, made out to the consulate should accompany the application.
The travel document will be valid for five years. Additionally, to obtain a power-of-attorney, the applicant must produce a government issued ID, such as a passport, (Driver’s License not accepted) and be accompanied by two witnesses carrying the same form of ID. The fee is $20.
Donna Christophe, who has been with the consulate for over ten years, also emphasized the significance of submitting a photo ID, taken against a white backdrop, and providing a valid phone number. She said many documents remain dormant at the diplomat office, due to issues such as these.
Visit www.guyanaconsulatenewyork.org. or call 212-947-5110 fax 646-915-0237 for more information.