‘Visa virus’: halt the spread

The fall-out from ‘l’affaire John Kahekwa’ continues: today The Independent published in its Letters to The Editor a companion piece to yesterday’s article that touched on some of the wider issues to emerge. The link to the letter is here:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/letters/letters-visa-bungles-hamper-britains-good-influence-8274552.html

Furthermore the UK Border Agency have offered both an apology to John Kahekwa and to fast-track his visa so justice has been done, in a sense.

Though The Marjan Centre is not a conservation organisation per se, inevitably it will get drawn into some of the issues relating to conservation, whether it is the merits of ‘fortress’ conservation, militarisation, or about poaching.

This ‘visa virus’ that felled John Kahekwa is highly damaging for little NGO’s and in the long run for Britain in creating bad relations, so it is everyone’s interest to develop a better way.

Representatives of the conservation world should meet UKBA and thrash out a ‘roadmap’ and here is a suggestion.

The MCC (Marylebone Cricket Club) have a sound, tried-and-tested system that is simple: any candidate for membership has to have two ‘seconders’ as well as an endorsement from a person from an ‘approved’ list of several hundred names, which negates any adverse collusion between the ‘seconders’. The beauty of the system is that it is largely self-policing.

It is suggested that conservation groups could adopt a similar approach, and it has already has an informal endorsement from leading conservationist and primate expert, Ian Redmond. Jasper Humphreys, The Marjan Centre

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