• 24 Jun, 2024

PPP Government should ask for visa-free travel to India

PPP Government should ask for visa-free travel to India

PPP Government should ask for visa-free travel to India

The Foreign Minister of India visited Guyana and was given a royal treatment fit for a head-of-state. They swooned over him at every opportunity. And that may be good hospitality, notwithstanding that the PPP Government refuses to add “Indian” to “Arrival Day,” although the Opposition PNC said it supports that. Why is the PPP refusing to do that? I wish journalists would raise this question with the Vice President of all things so we may understand the PPP’s refusal to do so. Maybe they have a good reason for minimizing Indians so they would not be accused of “apartheid.” They can ask President Irfaan too since another May 5 (Indian Arrival Day) is ahead of us. What does the PPP have to lose if they do this? A recent letter by Dr. Ramharack explained the issues fully. (See “Only obstacle to recognizing Indian Arrival Day in Guyana is the PPP/C gov’t,” Stabroek News, April 23, 2023).

I have visited India twice, but it is not easy to get visas to India. In one instance, I had to complain to a US Senator who was on the Foreign Relations Committee to intervene. The Indian Embassy had my passport for several months with no visa issued, although it should not have taken more than two weeks. I would like to visit India and tour all over the country as I connect with my roots. However, it’s tedious and frustrating to have to apply for short-term visas when they could have issued a ten-year visa. Although all Indo-Guyanese are Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs), most people do not have the documentary proof to show that. So, we cannot get the PIO Card which would allow for easy travel to India. The Indian Government should probably make it easier for Guyanese to get PIO status if we do not have the paper work from many years ago. Where would they think we came from, if not India?

Guyana asked for visa-free travel to the UK which was approved and is now asking for visa-free travel to Canada. It is time for the Guyana Government to request visa-free travel to India, as well as allow Indians to come to Guyana without the need for a visa. This should be an easy decision for India as the risks are low. I don’t know many Guyanese who would want to go to India and try to settle there, as they would do in the USA or Canada. They would just want to visit India to see all those things they see in the Bollywood movies on which they feast continuously.

Even as we are signing more and more economic and trade agreements with India, I call on President Ali’s Government to request visa-free travel to India for all Guyanese! This will facilitate more tourism to our beloved motherland.

Sincerely,

Dr. Jerry Jailall