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St. Maarten (Today Newspaper) – Embattled administrative assistant Diane Douglas has come forward to clear the air on allegations that she misrepresented herself as the authorised Guyana government representative for the processing of traditional and biometric passports on the island. Douglas’ name was mentioned in an official correspondence to the government of St. Maarten from Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the ministry read an online media report suggesting that Guyanese should reject consular officials from neighboring islands and conduct transactions with Douglas only. As Today’s Newspaper reported on March 21, the Guyana government made it clear that it had never appointed Douglas and would never seek to contravene the laws of St. Maarten.Douglas rejected the notion that she ever represented herself as the “government appointed consular agent” and said that she was only trying to assist hapless Guyanese on the island by acting as a liaison for Guyana’s consulate in Antigua and Barbuda.“Based on the article that was on the website,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, they decided to send the letter to the government of St. Maarten. What they are saying is exactly true, they never appointed me. The whole thing was misconstrued. The person who wrote the article did not put it over in the right way. I have authority from Mr. Reis and I operate under the consulate in Antigua.”Douglas presented documents such as authorisation letters from the Antiguan consulate stating that as a member of the St. Maarten-Guyana Foundation she was allowed to liaise with the country’s Police and Immigration departments on behalf of Guyanese nationals. She was also identified as a consular agent on several birth certificates stamped by the Antiguan consulate for children born in St. Maarten to Guyanese parents.However, Honorary Consul in Antigua Robert E. Reis with whom Douglas has worked closely for the last four years could not be reached for a comment up to press time.The Guyanese media has picked up on the story and questions whether Douglas was involved in a passport scam.“I would not be so stupid to get myself in a passport racket. I would not endanger my life or my children’s lives. I would never embarrass myself like that. I normally screen persons thoroughly before forwarding their documents,” a visibly upset Douglas said.The woman has been residing on the island for close to 26 years. She admitted that people are still approaching her to submit applications for biometric passports and she advised that they should await the next official visit of Reis to the island.Honorary consuls who opt to perform services outside of their jurisdictions are not subject to any fee stipulation since travel and accommodation expenses are considered personal. To offset these expenses,Cheap NFL Jerseys, the price is expected to be higher for processing documents, Douglas explained. The disparity between passport processing fees for the Antiguan consulate and neighboring St. Kitts has also become a source of concern for the Guyanese community on the island. For those who desperately need a travel document, price is never an issue,Wholesale Jerseys Online, Douglas said, while maintaining that since she began assisting the Antiguan consulate, the frequency with which incidents of false documents have been reported  has significantly reduced.Although Antiguan consular officials have visited St. Maarten on several occasions, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis Honorary Consul, Stanford Conway has also expressed an interest in visiting the island. Neither of the two groups has apparently been able to effectively collaborate to address the needs of the Guyanese community and Douglas now appears to be caught in the cross hairs.An official from Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Thursday that the entire issue has become “an unfortunate case of people trying to upstage each other.”“The situation also presents an opportunity for “the government of St.Maarten to widen its interest in Guyana through bilateral relations,Wholesale NFL Jerseys, trade agreements and perhaps even the setting up of a consulate,” the official said.Protocol dictates that the Government of Guyana would have to write a letter to St.Maarten and the Netherlands requesting the establishment of consulates.“We have every respect for the laws of St. Maarten and when we learnt through the media that Ms. Douglas was being promoted as the official government appointee it was very disturbing,Wholesale China Jerseys,” the official explained.Douglas said that her only interest was in serving the people of her mother country to the best of her ability.“It was shameful what was placed on that news website. If things are not done the proper way then Guyanese in St. Maarten will have to revert to travelling to Guyana to process their documents,China Jerseys Cheap,” the official said.
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