Time to set things straight

Updated 23 November 2013

Time to set things straight

Saudi Arabia has all the right to carry out a campaign against illegal expatriates. However, the issue does not end here. The big test lies ahead. There is an urgent need for streamlining visa and immigration procedures and to plug the holes in the system that human traffickers blatantly exploit. I read in a comment recently published in Arab News that said nobody wishes to live in a country illegally. The question is as to why they end up working illegally in the Kingdom. Many of them had Iqamas or residence permits; the main issue was they were not working with the sponsors as mentioned in their permits. This practice had been going on for a couple of decades. It is not just the fault of the expatriates; their Saudi sponsors are equally guilty.
However, I do not find it illegal to work somewhere else other than your sponsor. If the sponsor has no job to offer, where would an expat go? If he is not engaging in any criminal activity and just working to make ends meet, I feel calling him illegal and throwing him out of the country is not a nice thing. One thing is for sure, Saudi Arabia will always require foreign workforce. Not because the Saudis are not capable enough, it is because of the size of the country, enormous resources and the huge potential. Most of the developed countries across the world have prospered by allowing talent from across the world to work and live. The Kingdom must reconsider its labor policies. It is the right time for the Saudi authorities to set things straight. Otherwise, after every few years the number of “illegal expats” will soar and the need for another campaign will arise. — Shabbir Ahmed, Jeddah


Cartoon in bad taste

Updated 07 August 2017

Cartoon in bad taste

I wish to use my “right of reply” to complain about the unfortunate caricature that appeared on Aug. 5, 2017, in your well-known newspaper. The cartoon represents President Nicolas Maduro sitting on a military tank and a hand coming out of the tank’s cannon writing on a book titled “New Constitution.” Such a caricature is offensive to my country.
What the caricature seems to imply is that President Maduro wants to rewrite a new constitution with the power of arms. This is totally false. It is immoral to give your readers such a forged image of Venezuela and its constitutionally- and democratically-elected government.
The revision of our constitution, which is among the best in the world, is mainly to reinforce it and make it more adaptable to the new times. It is not an imposition of our president; it has been backed by more than 8 million Venezuelans and has the objective of re-establishing the peace process that has been trampled by a violent opposition backed by interested foreign countries that pretend to give orders to our sovereign populace.
I fail to understand why some international media report fake news about my country, with the purpose of undermining our sovereignty, and the people of Venezuela’s absolute right to decide, in a free and independent manner, how it wants to conduct its internal affairs.
I invite your newspaper to inform about our country with the truth and the same respect that we, in Venezuela, treat to our brothers of Saudi Arabia.

Joseba Achutegui
Ambassador of Venezuela
Riyadh
Saudi Arabia