Georgetown, GINA, August 5, 2016
Government is moving to have better oversight of the laws governing the Re-migrant Scheme. This announcement was made by Minister of State, Joseph Harmon during a post-Cabinet press briefing at the Ministry of the Presidency on Thursday.
The Minister noted that whilst, “the laws have always been there”, there has been abuse of the process by “persons who have lived abroad, came for a short period, stated that they were re-migrants, collected the concessions and then left.” He noted that this issue was the “source of one such investigation recently.”
The two main aims of the move towards greater oversight are to have a “one stop shop” for persons seeking to re-migrate to Guyana, so “that people don’t have to run here, there and all over the place to make sure they understand what they are entitled to.” Secondly, the new measures will clarify who are the persons that are entitled to benefit from the scheme and “bring themselves into compliance with the law”.
The initiative, Minister Harmon explained, resulted from what he described as a “very through paper on the matter, by Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge. The Minister had consulted with several persons, and these are the recommendations that have come out on the matter, Harmon added.
The Minister opined that what occurred in the past was that officials, in some cases deliberately “misinterpreted these provisions, and in some cases extended the provisions beyond what was provisioned for in the law.” The initiative will ensure greater oversight of the process; Minister Harmon emphasised and ensure greater compliance with regulations overseeing the process.
The Customs Amendment Bill 2016 was passed in the House on February 26, with the support of the Parliamentary Opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). The passage of the legislation enabled the implementation of new regulations. The new law states that re-migrants must reside in Guyana for at least 183 days after applying for re-migrant status, before leaving the country. Re-migrants who want to import vehicles without paying duties must do so within six months of resuming residency in Guyana.
Re-migrants have to reside locally for three years if they want to import a used vehicle and five years to bring in a new vehicle. No vehicle older than eight years old is allowed to imported.