EU plans to periodically grant Schengen visas to Guyana – Demerara Waves Online News – Guyana


Updated on Wednesday, August 17, 2022, 2:04 p.m. by Denis Chabrol

European Union Ambassador to Guyana Fernando Ponz Canto and President Irfaan Ali.

The European Union (EU) is exploring the possibility of a team of consular officials periodically traveling to Guyana to process and grant Schengen visas to Guyanese to avoid them having to travel to the Dutch Embassy in Suriname, EU Ambassador to Guyana Fernando Ponz Canto said on Wednesday.

“Who knows: maybe, of course, without any commitment, a possibility could be that some officials come here periodically and issue the visas. We are exploring this possibility. We don’t know if it will work,” he told reporters.

He explained that this could involve the periodic movement of consular officials from the Dutch Embassy in Suriname to Guyana to issue visas to Guyanese.

Responding minutes earlier to President Irfaan Ali’s moving plea for EU visas to be granted in Guyana on a full-time basis, Mr Ponz Canto explained that under European rules, EU institutions such as the delegation could not take such a decision because it is the responsibility of the EU Member States.

The EU envoy said moving the consular office from Paramaribo to Georgetown would be “difficult as there are many financial implications which are not within our control”.

Ultimately, the outgoing EU envoy said the wish was to abolish visa requirements for visas to travel to EU member states. Currently, Guyanese must visit a European embassy in Suriname or Trinidad to obtain Schengen visas to travel to any of the EU member states.

President Ali stressed the need for EU visas in Guyana and hoped that the imminent formal establishment of the EU-Guyana Chamber of Commerce would give impetus to this achievement.

The president seemed to believe that the EU could easily decide to set up a consular office in Guyana, saying the technology of such an advanced passenger information system could screen out unwanted people and grant Schengen visas. “It is no longer a luxury for the EU to take its time and grant us this facility. I think the EU needs to understand that it is in their strategic interest to have this facility here in Guyana in the next three months and we need to find where we can do that in the next three months, which embassy is able to do it in the next three months, what you want us to do to help you do it in the next three months and do it,” he said.

The president criticized the long wait for Guyanese, including the return trip to Suriname, to obtain an EU visa. “This is nonsense. Absolutely ridiculous and in this modern world that Guyana is strategically positioned in, you have all the sophisticated investors who come to Guyana to invest, we can’t go on like this,” he said. he said Dr Ali asked the EU envoy to let both sides “double down” on this issue in the next 48 hours, “make the appropriate noise and get things done”. “our system could match any system they have” in Suriname to allow visas to be granted in Guyana to facilitate movement and contact between people.

As well as British Airways returning from next year, he said Guyana now hopes to get KLM Airline, another European carrier. Efforts, he said, were also underway to secure an airlift to and from Canada with the participation of a consortium of Guyanese.

The president said technology should not be used as an excuse not to grant EU visas here.


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