December 14, 2017

Greenidge asserts that Honorary Consuls are not paid personnel amidts complaints

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge has sought to set the record straight regarding Guyana’s handling of its Honorary Consuls in various countries, making it clear that the volunteers are not employed by the Government of Guyana.

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge

Minister Greenidge was making reference to a misleading article in the Kaieteur News which reported that the Honorary Consul in Miami, Ramzan Roshanali, was allegedly being criticised by Guyanese in North America. However, Minister Greenidge explained that the post of Honorary Consul is voluntary, which means the officer is providing service based on the availability of their time.
“The honorary consul is characterised by the following, they are unpaid as regards their labour…they are unpaid,” the minister disclosed at a press conference at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.
Minister Greenidge said the situation in not peculiar to Guyana or any other developing country. In instances where a government is unable to establish offices of consul generals in countries where their nationals reside or for which it wishes to have relations, it retains the services of prominent individuals to function as Honorary Consuls.
Guyana, he said, has some 29 Honorary Consuls who are paid an honorarium or stipend of US$500 per month.
“Because we try to ensure that the expenses they incur are minimised, they are chosen because they have the capacity to save us money. You choose either a businessman or you choose a professional. We don’t pay those people, what we do is give them an honorarium that covers the expenses they incur, it is not a cost for their labour they provide,” the Minister explained.

Guyana’s Honorary Consul in
Florida, Ramzan Roshanali

He reiterated that the stipend is a nominal amount which does not even reach a tenth of what Ambassadors’ “employees of the government,” are receiving.
According to one observer, who resides in Florida, the Kaieteur News article which attacked the Honorary Consul of Florida, Mr Ramzan Roshanali, “totally misrepresents the office with a photograph of the wrong building”. The observer said the “article appears biased, is without any comment from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who overviews the work of the Honorary Consul, and written in a highly disparaging manner.”
“It is unfortunate that KN has again selectively resorted to attacking the hard work and commitments of Guyanese Americans who continue to serve Guyana, with no compensation, at their own expense and time. Mr. Ramzan Roshanali is known as a gentleman who goes out of his way to help the Florida Guyanese community. He also sponsors many Guyanese activities in the region at no expense to the Government of Guyana,” the observer stated.