City Council Member John Mootooveren, a Guyanese who immigrated to Schenectady, New York, with an influx of nationals seeking affording housing and opportunity, praised Guyana’s Coalition government for making it possible for the Guyana Consulate to conduct outreach programs where some 10,000 compatriots reside.
“Despite numerous requests for consular services in Schenectady before 2015, under the previous government, we never received the help needed help in the community, to obtain documents.”
“Fortunately, in 2016, we got approval from the consulate under the new Coalition government who approved the first outreach to Guyanese here,” said the council member.
“As soon as the government changed, we were able to tap into the services and have the consular staff travel to Schenectady to service citizens.”
Mootooveren, a project accountant, who left Queens, New York in 2000 and purchased his first house a year after, was instrumental in organizing the first outreach in 2016.
“I want to commend Mr. Monroe and Deputy Consul General Mrs. Hamer and her staff, for the successful outreach, which was in demand,” said Mootooveren, adding that the burden was lifted from the elderly who were forced to travel three-hours to Manhattan for consular services.
The community leader who welcomed newly appointed Consul General Barbara Atherly and staff on April 22, last, for a second outreach, called the day of service a total success, where close to 200 nationals showed up at the Phyllis Bornt Branch Library and Literacy Center to apply for passports, life certificates and birth certificates, among other documents.
With the help of flyer distribution in West Indian restaurants, churches and the community, many benefited from the outreach program, said Mootooveren, who in 2006, started addressing concerns raised by his fellow countryfolk, whom he added, revitalized the once cash-strapped Schenectady.
“Guyanese made an impact in the Schenectady economy that was struggling financially, due to the high tax rate in the housing market.”
“Because of Guyanese, who immigrated there in droves 17 years ago, bought houses and opened businesses, the state economy is now booming,” said Mootooveren.
At the end of the outreach program, Mootooveren presented CG Barbara Atherly with a certificate of appreciation once again, expressing thanks to the Guyana Coalition government for making consular services possible for Guyanese in Schenectady.
“We welcome it and we appreciate it and look forward to working with the consulate for future programs,” he added.
Reiterating its efforts to extend services beyond the walls of the Consulate in New York City, Athlery said the consulate was pleased to conduct the second Community Outreach Program in Schenectady, to reach out to Guyanese Diaspora in New York and its environs, to heighten their awareness and understanding of the services offered by the consulate as well as to discuss the needs of the Guyanese community.
The staff of the consulate, she said, processed 105 passport applications as well as several birth certificates and life certificates. A mini exhibition of Guyanese literature was also on display at the Library and Literacy Center.
Atherly accepted a certificate on behalf of the consulate in appreciation for the services rendered to the Guyanese population of Schenectady County.
“The outreach program was spearheaded by Mr. John Mootooveren. Those in attendance were appreciative of the service and requested that we visit Schenectady on a regular basis,” added CG Atherly.