Author Topic: British Ambassador Asif Ahmad. (that sums the uk up)  (Read 1386 times)

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Offline thaiga

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British Ambassador Asif Ahmad. (that sums the uk up)
« on: December 23, 2011, 07:59:48 PM »
 UK envoy replies to your questions.
Recently, we asked you to submit inquiries (on any issue) to British Ambassador Asif Ahmad. A subsequent video interview based on your questions was broadcast on Asean TV but he felt obliged to address every single question and comment (some of them are quite emotional as you shall see) and put his honest replies on the record here. So, as we promised you, here are the UK ambassador's answers to your questions. It must have taken him considerable time to tackle all of them and we are grateful for that.
The first nine questions below are covered in the video interview I did for The Nation:

US citizens and businesses enjoy condiderable special privilages under the Treaty of Amity. What are the UK government doing about securing a similar treaty for UK citizens and businesses? Or, is it something the European Union should be addressing?"

Next: There are a lot questions concerning visas and passports. Among those who asked are Andrew Cherry, Duncan Bergin, Gary Thomas, Derek Bingham , guys named Marc, Taff, John Ship, Paul, Greg, Rupert.

This is to name just a few. Let me summarize their questions for you.

1. Why is it taking quite long to process a passport? Even people in emergency complained they had to wait and sometimes overstay. Can the process be shortened to, like a week or three days?

2. This is from Mister Duncan. He wants to know how much money the consular section get from British citizens each year.

3. Why is the cost of getting UK passport from your embassy is twice as much as that charged in the UK? And why it takes longer?

4. One Mister "Edward" is an angry man. He wants to know if your office reports to London about "discrimination" toward foreigners by the Thai government.

5. A lot of questions concern pension payment from UK to expats living in Thailand. Can things be improved or will they have to remain the same?

6. From Mr Taff. More or less about the issues we are going through. "How can you justify the costs for Passports, Pension Letters, Affirmations etc when other Embassies are charging a realistic price?"

7. Let’s turn to politics. From Mr Malcolm Williams. He’s upset by what he said was lopsided report by the BBC on political situation in Thailand. He doesn’t think Thaksin Shinawatra is leading a real democracy movement. What’s your views on Thai politics, Mr Ambassador?

Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


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Re: British Ambassador Asif Ahmad. (that sums the uk up)
« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2011, 08:32:07 PM »
British Ambassador Asif Ahmad

That sums it up quite well, quite the oxymoron.  :-X

Offline thaiga

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Re: British Ambassador Asif Ahmad. (that sums the uk up)
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 01:48:36 PM »
Who paid for his holiday

Where no predecessor ever went
Asif Ahmad, the newish British ambassador to Thailand, has answered dozens of questions about the diplomatic service sent in by Brits mostly based here in Thailand.  Although the questions cover a wide range of topics such as the 2006 military coup and the affairs of Thaksin Shinawatra, on which the ambassador gives nothing away “nothing to do directly with HM government”, most letter writers wanted to know about the chaos and expense associated with British passport applications and visas for Thais going to the UK, or trying to at any rate.
On passports, Ahmad readily admitted there have been many complaints about passports taking months top issue, he said that the Identity and Passport Service (IPS) agency was in process of settling down and that matters would improve in due course.  The British government closed the passport sections in most British embassies last year as a mammoth cost saving exercise and centralized the issuing of new ones in a handful of cities, the nearest to Thailand being Hong Kong.  However, all passports are actually printed in London as a preparatory move before London becomes the sole centre, probably in 2013.
There were many questions to the ambassador about costs of providing consular or visa services.  He made clear that such services are offered on a full-cost-recovery basis and that the British tax payer at home could not be expected to subsidise overseas clients.  He was not able to argue why precisely British fees are so much higher than those of European partners, though he did state that Britain maintains a network of honorary consuls and agents outside the capital cities in Asia.  Ahmad also pointed out that consular and visa fees are set by Parliament in London, so there’s nothing to be achieved by complaining in other places.
The ambassador expressed mild surprise that not everyone received a reply to an email or letter they sent to the embassy on pertinent matters and offered his own email address to disappointed correspondents:  This is the first time a British ambassador has ever revealed his diplomatic email address to the public and he is to be congratulated on the move.  He can expect a very heavy mail bag, electronic or otherwise, for the remainder of his ambassadorial term.
Ahmad continues to publicise the oft-quoted figure that 850,000 British nationals visit Thailand every year, plus another 51,000 or so British expats.  Anyone thinking that the 850,000 figure is rather high – more than 10% of the population of the British Isles populations during the worst slump since world war two -  is of course right.  The inflated figure is merely a tally of persons passing through Thai immigration at airports and border posts and includes the many thousands who come more than once, and often several times, during a twelve-month period or come and go on multiple entry visas or re-entry permits .  The truer figure is likely around 500,000 British nationals.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.


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Re: British Ambassador Asif Ahmad. (that sums the uk up)
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 09:06:55 PM »
Just accept that the British Embassy doesn't care and that's the end of the matter.