To the Editor,
I was encouraged to see that you have taken up the frustrating issue of the Green Card Process (Spectator Editorial, Vol. 3, No. 18). I could add to your list of exhibits but most readers have their own long list of frustrations anyway.
I am applying for the fifth time. It is more complicated than the last time. I was told the law had changed but when I pressed to see exactly what changes had been made I was told that actually the law had not changed, but that the internal instructions had changed and that I was not allowed to see those.
I am more concerned with your solution for two reasons:
1. It violates a basic right. I should not have to prove my innocence to anyone once a year for anything. I am innocent unless someone can show otherwise.
2. And perhaps more importantly, you have just found another office that I would have to go to provide another piece of meaningless piece of paper from another bureaucrat and another queue.
There is another solution but that would take some management and organization. There are enough frustrated skilled foreigners here who could offer (pro bono) to work with the foreign police to develop the systems, complete with translation, to meet both the real needs of the state and the needs of the foreigner and to give basic management training to low-level and mid-level staff who, as we all know, are underpaid and under- motivated. There are only eight offices in Bratislava serviced by maybe 100 people.
Why not organize a "Slovak Spectator Event" to bring together the key ministry people and some volunteers with the goal of making a permit system in Bratislava that is customer friendly and the envy of central Europe?
I realize this does not address the fundamental issues of revitalizing bureaucracy in central Europe, but it would make our lives somewhat easier and help Slovakia with its image problem.
9. Oct 1997 at 0:00