GCC interior ministers have recommended that a single passport be adopted at the next summit, secretary-general Abdulrahman Al Attiyah said.
The ministers “have recommended that the next summit, scheduled for December in Kuwait, adopts a single passport” for citizens of the GCC states, he said.
Oh no.. that means that Bahrainis will have trouble getting into Europe, the Far East and the States should that happen! But hang on, more important than that, does that mean they’re actually doing something useful for a change? They’ve been talking about monetary union since the 70’s and we’re still waiting..
Why the hell bother? What would this single passport and monetary union bring us? We hardly have any inter-gulf trade in any case, and if we are so bold as to even try we get a good lesson on speedy processes… a snail is an F1 super-car in comparison.
As far as I am concerned, the ONLY thing that the GCC brought it in all of its history is that Gulf Nationals (Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates and Oman) is having a separate queue at Gulf airports and we don’t need visas to visit each of the GCC countries. But the feeling you get as you cross borders, especially Saudi, Gulf nationals feel like criminals daring to go into/out of Saudi. Our leaders should take lessons from Europe and especially the Benelux countries to see what is really possible. But that’s another subject… let’s get back to the unified passport business.
Saudis at the moment are barred from going to Thailand for instance, and their government might have a very good reason for this, but as the biggest and richest country in this union, does that mean that when we do get a unified passport, we will be barred from visiting certain countries, because one of the member states has issues with it? Wouldn’t it be better just to keep our passports as is and concentrate on doing a EU-like region where every country keeps its sovereignty and identity?
What’s the big deal about having a single passport anyway? Wouldn’t easing the procedures at the various crossing points be sufficient? A European now just has to show his/her passport at the control point and away they go! No stamping, no double checking, no stupid little slips to give to a police officer at the airport before being allowed in the baggage reclaim area… nothing. So having a single passport will do away with these totalitarian procedures?
Not a chance! We LIVE for red-tape.
Governments in the Gulf should get their priorities right. For instance: joining the WTO will benefit every other country we deal with except ours, doesn’t that merit discussion? Free Trade Pacts with the USA as evidenced in both Canada and Mexico benefits the USA more than their so called partners, doesn’t that warrant caution?
Ok, I’m a simpleton. Explain to me this: how is the unified passport, monetary union, and the customs union going to benefit us as citizens of the Gulf?
So we don’t have inter-gulf trade to talk about… how about foreign direct investments (FDI) coming into our countries? Of the USD823.82bn in FDI generated worldwide, the vast West Asia and North Africa stretch of 21 countries accounted for a meager 1.29 per cent with just USD10.68bn. Pathetic.
Personal experience coming up: I have a friend who’s been in Bahrain for about 8 or 9 years. Owns a factory employing some 50 or more Bahrainis, invested in his factory (hence directly in Bahrain) more than a million Bahraini Dinars in capital and multiples of that in turn-over the majority of which has been re-invested in the factory and staff. The kind of problems he’s continuously experiencing from the various government departments surpass Steven King’s horror stories by far! He’s a Jordanian/Palestinian and as he is an investor in the country he applied for a Bahraini passport. He’s eligible for it, but did he get it? No bloody chance! Yet, an Egyptian waiter who’s been on the island for a few months did! Huh? Yeah it’s true and I’m not making this up.
So what would an Egyptian waiter bring to the island in capital, development and jobs? How about the thousands of Yemeni, Indian, Jordanian, Syrian, Pakistani, Sudanese and goodness knows how many other illiterate nationalities who’s been brought to the island to join the police or defence forces and given along with their underwear and toothbrushes (accompanied with demonstrations of use) Bahraini passports? What do they contribute?
Shouldn’t the government encourage entrepreneurs who directly bring money, knowledge and jobs to the island? Shouldn’t we concentrate on these issues before discussing hair-brained ideas like unified passports and monetary unions which will not benefit anyone?
Time to go home… maybe after eating something I’ll find the answers!