Govt denies interfering in GRO registration process

Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix on Wednesday publicly legitimised Member of Parliament, Richard Allen’s involvement in the outreach activity, which was conducted by the General Register Office (GRO) in Region One (Barima-Waini) last week to provide registration services for residents there.
Minister Felix was at the time responding to allegations made by the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) against Allen and published in Wednesday’s edition of the Guyana Times.
The Opposition claimed the MP had compromised the integrity of the GRO’s work by discriminately facilitating registrations and subsequently handing out birth certificates to select civilians.
In an invited comment at his office at the Ministry of Citizenship, Waterloo Street, Georgetown, Minister Felix said that the allegations were without truth.
“None of the allegations mentioned has any truthfulness behind it… I, Winston Gordon Felix, Minister [of] Citizenship has authorised Mr Allen since last year to mobilise and assist the GRO staff with moving around… MP Allen has not interfered in the work of the GRO staff. He is of help to them,” he said.
The Citizenship Minister said that the GRO was obligated to register all citizens and would not display any partiality to any persons being registered over others.
“We are ensuring that this is a transparent process. It is done in the open. The public is invited. No one is there to discriminate as to who should be registered and who should not be registered. The registration process takes place in the full glare of the public… We are endeavouring to ensure that the public interest is served by having children registered… That is what we’re after. We’re not after any other ulterior motive. Each child that is born in Guyana must have a birth certificate,” he said.
Minister Felix also stressed that only registrations were made during the outreach, thus demonstrating the illegitimacy of claims that Allen had handed out birth certificates. “Mr Allen, in this year, 2018, could not have issued or could not have handed out, or could not have received any birth certificate from anyone, because there were no birth certificates handed out or to be received from anyone in those areas,” he said.