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Nicholson to probe MIA consulate in Curaçao

Published:Monday | May 25, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade A.J. Nicholson has promised to get to the heart of the issue as Jamaican nationals living and working in Curaçao complain that the consulate there is missing in action.

Nicholson told The Gleaner that, while he has not received any direct reports from Jamaican nationals in Curaçao, he would be issuing instructions to the permanent secretary to investigate the allegations.

He urged Jamaicans in Curaçao to make formal complaints to his ministry.

"This is the only way that we can address any allegation," he said.

The consulate in Curaçao exists to help compatriots to solve any difficulties that may arise.


another side of the story


But Annmarie Saunders-Vander Kooij, a Jamaican national, complained that this was not the case for Jamaicans living there legitimately.

She told The Gleaner that she has been scrambling to get a new Jamaican passport since hers was stolen almost six months ago.

Saunders-Vander Kooij said her home was burgled in January and her passport was stolen, leaving her without proper identification as a Jamaican in a foreign land.

"I have a permit that I can work, but I need to replace my passport because it is important for me to have at this moment," she said.

She was in need of the new passport, she said, in order to pick up her new work permit and local identification.

"I cannot continue to walk around without these documents because I will get into problems with immigration," she said.

Saunders-Vander Kooij said she reported the burglary to the police in Curaçao just after the incident.

"They gave me a report which I took to the consulate here to have it replaced, and that is from January," she said.

Saunders-Vander Kooij told The Gleaner that she was informed that it would be ready within two months.

"It's almost June and each time I call no one picks up."

Saunders-Vander Kooij said she also made several visits to the consulate but there was no one there when she turned up.

"The place is closed and I am here without proper identification," she complained.


not fast and reliable


While she was unable to give a specific figure, Saunders-Vander Kooij told The Gleaner that she was not alone in her need of assistance from the diplomatic mission in Jamaica.

"A lot of us are here," she said. "The Jamaican consulate is the one that gives us assistance with all these things and this service is not fast and reliable."

Added Saunders-Vander Kooij: "A lot more Jamaicans are complaining that this consulate is not working out for us.

"Even today when I went there, other persons were there complaining that for months they have been trying to find the consulate to renew their passport so they can take care of their permit."

She said: "If your permit expires here in Curaçao, they pressure you on the job because they start to see you as illegal and companies don't want problems with the law.