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05GEORGETOWN1349 2005-12-28 23:20:00 SECRET Embassy Georgetown
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					  S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 04 GEORGETOWN 001349 




E.O. 12958: DECL: 12/28/2015


Classified By: Charge d,Affaires Michael D. Thomas for reason 1.4(b) an
d (d)

1. (U) SUMMARY. Charge, Deputy Consul, and PolOff met with
Minister of Home Affairs Gail Teixeira on December 23.
Teixeira had requested a Consular briefing on trends in fake
Guyanese civil documents detected by the Consular Section.
Teixeira also described problems with control of the visa
process in Guyana's foreign missions, including those in
India, China, Israel, and Africa. Teixeira also discussed
voter registration problems that continue to dog the Ministry
of Home Affairs (MHA) (septel). END SUMMARY.

No Control Over Birth, Marriage Registrations


2. (C) Charge, Deputy Consul, and PolOff met with Minister
Teixeira at the MHA on December 23. Teixeira had asked
Ambassador last month to send a Consular Officer to brief her
on fraudulent birth and marriage certificates issued by the
General Register Office (GRO) that had been detected by the
Consular Section. Teixeira was particularly worried that she
is not getting full and accurate details on these incidents
in the briefings GRO gives her. Deputy Consul described the
problematic birth and marriage certificates submitted to the
Consular Section in Immigrant Visa cases, which appear to
have been genuinely issued using GRO paper and seals, but
which were not obtained in accordance with Guyanese law. The
clear implication is that GRO is issuing civil documents

3. (SBU) Birth certificates. In a common example, someone
whose original birth certificate does not list a father is
able to obtain a new certificate from GRO that includes the
purported father's name. Teixeira confirmed this was not
legal without the father at least going to court and
accepting paternity.

4. (SBU) Marriages. Guyanese marriage certificates state
whether the marriage is by license, by notice, or by banns.
The latter two methods require both the bride and groom to be
in Guyana for weeks before the marriage. In Guyana's
widespread business marriages, the Guyanese-American
petitioner will usually remain in the country less than a
week and use an unscrupulous marriage officer to wed them and
obtain a certificate. Texeira confirmed these quick visit
marriages are invalid if done by notice or banns.

5. (C) Minister Teixeira expressed what seemed to be genuine
displeasure with these improperly or unlawfully issued civil
documents involving GRO. She explained how she is already
trying to fix the problem. She has confronted GRO about
similar incidents but to date GRO has denied responsibility
for the fraudulent documents. However, the evidence is too
convincing now -- the paper stock, seal, and signatures of
these certificates are all genuine. Regarding marriages,
Teixeira has revoked the license of one marriage officer and
is scrutinizing the entire marriage license process. She has
also required the GRO to implement basic management controls
over controlled items, such as locking up the seal when not
in use and inventorying and securing supplies of blank
certificates. She also asked Deputy Consul to keep her
apprised on a monthly basis of problems encountered with GRO
issued documents.

Trying to Control Who Comes In and Who Stays Out



6. (C) Teixeira mentioned several suspicious visa cases on
her plate. She said this flow of people wanting to enter
Guyana on unlikely pretenses could relate to trafficking in
persons, the gold and diamond industries, arms smuggling, or
terrorist links. She said she would like to work with USG to
prevent these activities. She takes some files immediately
to the Guyana Police Force's Special Branch for them to check
Interpol databases or any other sources, since the Ministry
has no computer resources to conduct such checks.

7. (C) Following up on the November 17 meeting's discussion
of Indian tour operators (reftel), Teixeira said she is
taking a hard line with tour operators applying for visas for
large groups of young, single, businessmen purportedly
traveling to Guyana for tourism. Almost every set of
applicants included an older man with an Indian passport
issued at a location outside of India (such as Beirut or
Frankfurt). Teixeira has compiled a case file with passport
numbers for each of these tour group applicants. In early
December, a new tour operator appeared requesting visas for
another group of "tourists". Teixeira forwarded the
operator's supposed e-mail address to the Indian High
Commission, which determined the address was fictitious.

8. (C) Teixeira described a court case involving a group of
Indians waylaid in Guyana before trying to enter the U.S. or
Canada illegally. In what she said is a typical scam, their
families probably paid human smugglers to take them to
"America". After bringing the group to Guyana (in the
"Americas") the smugglers then demand additional payments for
onward transport to the U.S. or Canada. In the case at hand,
one man escaped and went to the Indian High Commission.
Three Indians are now in protective custody as witnesses but
the authorities will not be able to keep them much longer.
Teixeira does not know how these three entered Guyana. She
admitted she is unsure what she is dealing with but this case
is just the "tip of the iceberg".

9. (S) Teixeira described the steps she has taken to curtail
irresponsible, or corrupt, consular operations at Guyana's
diplomatic posts. She said she encountered "great resistance
in foreign missions trying to tighten up on visa issuances"
and lamented that the MFA and other ministries do not
understand that visa officers overseas are an important part
of the country's security apparatus. All diplomatic missions
are supposed to send visa issuance reports to the MHA, but
the Ministry receives them six weeks after the fact when the
travelers have already either transited Guyana or have
arrived and disappeared.

-- Teixeira said she has managed to bring Beijing visa
operations under control. Guyana has ceased issuing visas
for Chinese to join their families in Guyana, although
Chinese are still granted visas to work in the timber and
sugar industries (Note: China is financing a US$100 million
restructuring of Guyana's sugar industry. End note.) She
said that a corrupt system operated in China involving the
mission and the Ministry. Now, the mission in Beijing can
only deal with bilateral cooperation and investment issues.

-- In response to Charge's question, Teixeira said the visa
situation in India is "manageable". All visa applications
from South India come to the MHA in Georgetown for
adjudication, allowing for greater scrutiny. She believes
South Indians who want a Guyanese visa would not travel all
the way to New Delhi to apply in person at the High
Commission there. In response to Charge's direct question
about visa operations at Guyana's Embassy in New Delhi,
Teixeira said "Delhi doesn't deal with us". When the
conversation turned to Delhi, the normally animated Teixeira
slowed down and spoke carefully and deliberately. She was
noticeably less forthcoming about the situation in Delhi than
about any other topic during the two and a half hour meeting.
However, she did suggest twice that her relationship with
the Delhi Embassy was dictated by orders from higher
authority. (Note: Teixeira's predecessor as Minister of Home
Affairs, Ronald Gajraj, was implicated in death squad
activity and was forced to resign under pressure from the US
and other donors after he admitted to consorting with and
illegally granting gun licenses to known murders. Gajraj has
now taken up appointment in New Delhi as Guyana's High
Commissioner to India. End note.)

-- Texeira said Guyana's embassy in Suriname and Guyana's
honorary consuls (particularly in Africa and Israel) are now
her biggest problems on the visa front.

10. (S) In Teixeira's words, Guyana does not have an
immigration policy. There is little control over visa
issuance. Immigration authorities cannot control or keep
track of who enters the country. The government loses
immigration cases in court. Deportation is expensive and
often ineffective. In the past, all immigration decisions
contained a note that refused applicants could appeal
directly to the Minister, a practice Teixeira said she had
abolished. Teixeira said disorder in the immigration process
is embarrassing to the government and the GoG wants to do
something about it. But President Jagdeo is also concerned
about profiling travelers by race or nationality -- an image
he does not want to project.

Corruption Interferes Constantly


11. (S) During the meeting, Teixeira acknowledged there "was
quite a lot of corruption in the immigration division". She
has tried to deal with it by firing many employees in the
Ministry. However, she fears that these corrupt former
employees will sell their knowledge of the system and ability
to forge documents. For example, she said the former MHA
Security Policy Coordinator, Sultan Kassim, is "very closely
linked to a number of networks, particularly the Chinese" and
described a slush fund financed by Brazilian fees for work
permits that Gajraj and Kassim had run. Unable to pin any
direct evidence of illegal activity on Kassim, Teixeira said
she had dealt with him by sending him on long-term leave.

12. (S) Teixeira stated that while corruption also existed in
the police force and GRO, the corruption of justices and
magistrates was the most worrying. She said all Guyanese
know which cases, magistrates, and lawyers are tainted by
corruption. As a result, the government cannot win important
convictions. Similarly, she said everyone knows who the
"drug lawyers" are, but the local bar association is too
feeble to disbar anyone.

Still Uneasy about American Religious Groups and Airstrips



13. (C) Teixeira reiterated the concern she raised at the
previous meeting about the Seventh Day Aviation medical group
operating in Guyana. She said a different group now wants to
build an airstrip in the Rupununi hinterland. This group has
suddenly expanded from one priest with an aircraft in the
late 1990s to a group of around 20 missionaries whose
projects always involve airstrips. Teixeira emphasized the
government's desire for fewer rural airstrips, given their
link to narco-trafficking, and its policy of destroying some
of them. She thinks these American religious groups are
somehow taking advantage of the Amerindian villages that host
them. However, besides referring to reports of drug drops at
one location, she shared no evidence of possible sinister
activity on the missionaries' part.

Request for Assistance


14. (U) Teixeira made two requests for assistance.

-- First, she would like to computerize the civil document
process (all birth, marriage, and death certificates are now
handwritten) and create scanned archival copies of all old
records. She said two groups are submitting proposals to do
this but she does not have the money to implement the
project. Teixeira noted that this major project will have to
wait until after the 2006 elections.

-- Second, Teixeira asked for assistance in auditing the
GRO's internal control procedures and in training GRO
personnel to better understand and manage the critical
security component to their jobs. She would like such
training to culminate in new standard operating procedures
for GRO's activities.



15. (C) This meeting further confirmed that Teixeira
genuinely wants to fight the corruption and inefficiency that
have a crippling effect on her broad portfolio (including
GRO, immigration, the attorney general and the courts, and
the police force). Long-standing smuggling routes that
transfer illegal migrants from India, Pakistan, and China
through Guyana to the U.S. and Canada are ideal for
exploitation by terrorists and others who would do us harm.
Thus, it would be strongly in U.S. interest to find ways to
assist Teixeira in vetting suspect visa applications and
tightening control of civil documents.

16. (C) Unfortunately, although Teixeira criticizes her
predecessor Gajraj's imperious, direct control over the
Ministry's workings, she has only slightly loosened the reins
of control herself. This may reflects her very valid
concerns over both corruption and competence within the MHA,
or the PPP's habit of centralized decision-making and
micro-management. The fact that she involves herself
personally in sensitive visa applications supports either
hypothesis. Another possibility is that the position has
overwhelmed her. Post rates Teixeira highly as an honest,
forthright interlocutor. However, more than a few Guyanese
insiders think of her as a lightweight better suited to her
previous position as Minister of Youth, Culture, and Sport.