It is with interest and enthusiasm that we Guyanese read in your daily newspapers about the exciting future we are now entering. The future (if not the present) is full of excitement over developments in our country. Our 56 years of independence are full of hope – if not excitement – for the transition to a major oil-producing country and the development this will bring to our economy, our daily lives and our status as Caribbean citizens.
An example of this is British Airways’ decision to have from March next year a bi-weekly flight to the UK – Guyana – St Lucia – UK using a Boeing 777 200R which can accommodate 323 passengers per flight. That’s up to 1292 passengers per week. This will of course have a major impact on our tourism industry and our economy. The British High Commissioner, Jane Miller, was of course part of the announcement by the Minister of Public Works, Juan Edgehill. Yes, exciting times ahead. Now, this in the context of Guyanese (accompanied by Jamaicans) as the only Caribbeans who cannot jump on the new service or board a plane to the UK without a visa.
Yes, we need to go through the lengthy and expensive visa application process with the process of providing documentary evidence that you have sufficient funds to support yourself in the UK. Another discriminatory situation that we Guyanese are subject to is holding a non-Guyanese currency bank account in one of the international banks that operate here. Yes, you can have a USD account but only if you are not Guyanese or an executive of a company registered in Guyana. WHY WHY WHY.
So, we Guyanese are/have progressed into the most developed country in the Caribbean and are discriminated against by the system prohibiting travel to the UK without a visa and without a USD bank account. So I hope the British High Commissioner – Jane Miller – will take note of the UK’s discriminatory policy towards Guyanese, and that the government will take note of the unique discrimination against Guyanese in the holding bank accounts.