My visits to the banks in Guyana are a very frustrating experience. Last week I visited two banks at Water Street. The first bank I reached at about twelve noon. They only had about twelve people in the line but only two persons were working. Just to cash a cheque I took over one hour. I counted nine booths but only two tellers were working. The supervisors just put a blind eye to what was happening while many staff were just walking around doing nothing and gaffing all the time. If all the nine booths were occupied I would have left there in less than ten minutes.
I then walked over to another bank only to be greeted with a longer line of about sixty people. It was around 13:30h. I joined the line that was not moving, it was very hot and no one cares if the line was like a stagnant trench full of bushes.
I counted eighteen booths but only six staff were working, it seems the others were on a long lunch, but the supervisors doesn’t care to fill those empty booths with any other staff I see just walking around and gaffing. The six staff were working for the twelve that were gone to a very long lunch.
All of this incompetence I see at all these major banks in Guyana is caused by very poor administration. The CEO and managers have no respect for our Guyanese citizens who have to stand for hours in these lines. They need to be fired.
After two hours I approached the teller with my filled out documents. She told me I need to bring my Passport, Tin Certificate and an expense invoice. I was a bit bothered because I gave them those things not too long ago, only the expense invoice that pertains to the amount of money I earned with my income and expenditure was new to me.
I finished my transaction and returned the next day with the documents they required to be greeted with the same long UN-moving line. That process alone took an extra hour with many questions I had to answer.
I told their staff that they should have called or write to me requesting those documents long before and not wait until I reached there to be greeted by a ‘’steel wall.’’
I was told they are updating all customers’ accounts, all because of the money laundering bill. I have been hearing that for a very long time so I now call on the Minister of Legal affairs to make the stipulations of this bill public when it comes to these banks by having a brochure given to all citizens of this country.
My questions are as follows: Why do the banks need two forms of Identifications? Why do they need these things all the time: Proof of Address, Tin Certificate, Job letter or Affidavits, Picture, etc? Why the Gecom ID alone doesn’t work? It seems they don’t trust the ID from Gecom and they don’t accept a driver’s licence as a form of ID.
Why can’t these banks write their customers, email them, or send letters, publish on TV or in the papers, of their new requirements?
Why wait until customers travel from very far to lose a day’s work for a few documents?
What does it say in the Anti-Money Laundering about customers’ requirements for banking?
To get a Passport, all I will need a good Birth Certificate and my Gecom ID card. Then I will take those to the immigration with my notarised passport form for a passport. So why the banks just can’t accept the Gecom ID?
On the issue of passports, how many lines can there be at passport office now for persons to renew their passports or apply for one? The Passport Office lines gets longer daily because everyone wants to leave here since this new administration came to power, it’s the hard truth we must accept.
We have a serious migration problem in this country all because of poor wages and salary and bad administration for the past fifty years. Our economy is at a standstill. This doesn’t bother our political leaders.
My next question for the banks: Why is it that no banks in Guyana have toilets and urinals? You wait for hours in lines but there are no washrooms for their customers, it’s so sad. I fully agree with Kissoon when he writes: ‘’Why is Guyana such a stupid place?’’
We waste hours and days in long lines for just simple things like a Passport, Birth Certificate, and a bank deposit. We are a nation far behind civilszation where the half-educated have risen to power into many offices they are not qualified to administrate. May God help us.
Rev Gideon Cecil