2010-10-29 13:06:58 UTC
By Amilcar da Costa
adacosta at cencenelec.eu
At the initiative of Dr. Eduardo Faleiro, Commissioner for
NRI Affairs and former Minister of External Affairs, who was
participating at the India-EU Forum on Effective
Multilateralism in Brussels on the 11th and 12th October
2010, Goans living in Belgium had the opportunity to meet in
Brussels for the first time on the 13th October 2010.
His Excellency, the Indian Ambassador to Belgium, Dr. Jaimini
Bhagwati, at the request of Dr. Faleiro, agreed to host this
first meeting at the Indian Embassy in Brussels.
Mr. Santosh Jha, Counsellor (Political), Mr. Somnath Ghosh,
Counsellor (European Parliament), and Mr. Gaurav Ahluwalia,
Second Secretary (Information, Culture & Consular), from the
Indian Embassy, also participated at the meeting.
Most of the Goans living in Belgium work either for
the EU Commission, EU Council, the EU Parliament or
for organizations closely linked to the EU
Dr. Faleiro opened the meeting, introduced himself and
explained that his idea to meet the Goans living in Belgium
was mainly to identify their problems and difficulties and to
find ways to improve the situation.
He informed of the various meetings that were being organized
with Goans around the world, including the annual Global
Goans Convention, which this year will be held in Kuwait on
November 16 and 17.
He further explained that to reconnect the second and third
generation Goans abroad with their roots, the State
Government has launched a programme called "Know Goa". Under
this programme 15 youngsters (in the age group of 18 to 26)
who have distinguished themselves academically or
professionally, would be invited to visit Goa for 15 days as
guests of the state. The third edition of the "Know Goa"
programme will be held from November 28 to December 12, 2010.
Interested in knowing their activities in Belgium, Dr.
Faleiro requested the individual participants to present
themselves and to raise any issues that they felt needed
The Goans explained that holding foreign passports they were
given tourist visas, when they visited their families in Goa
and India and were asked to leave the country as soon as the
rather short period of the tourist visa expired.
Dr. Faleiro clarified that Goans and other persons of Indian
origin holding foreign passports will henceforth be issued
only long term 'extandable' visas and not tourist visas.
Responding to a question concerning the recovery of heritage
property in Goa by a Goan holding a foreign nationality, he
clarified that this was possible as soon as the Goan holding
the foreign nationality would be registered as a 'Person of
Indian Origin' (PIO).
Addressing the participants, His Excellency the Ambassador,
Dr. Jaimini Bhagwati, stated that he was happy to meet the
Goans living in Belgium and ensured that the Embassy would do
its best to help them when required. He also ensured that the
Goans would in future be invited to the various events,
including the Independence Day celebrations, organized by the
At the end of the meeting, the Goan participants agreed that
this first meeting should encourage further meetings from
time to time and to try to contact other Goans that could not
be reached this time.
A large number of Goans live in the neighboring EU
Member States like The Netherlands, France,
Germany, Luxembourg and of course in Portugal. The
Goans believe that this first meeting of Goans in
Belgium could be extended to the other countries in
the EU and to host a future Global Goans Convention
The following Goans participated at the meeting:
Ms Sonia Cola?o, Ms Cristina Fonseca, Mrs Maria Vieira de
Sousa, Mr. Amilcar da Costa, Ms Louisa da Costa, Ms Vera da
Costa, Dr. Sandhya D'Souza, Mr. Sanjeev D'Souza, Mr. Roque
Barbosa, Mrs. Amelia Monteiro Kassam, Mr. Esmail Kassam, Mr.
Aarun Monteiro Kassam, Mr. Paulo Alexandre Esse, Mr. Bonacho
Fernandes, Mrs Sushila Braun, Mr. Michael Braun, Ms Emilie
Braun, Ms Jenefer Fernandes, Mr. Joaquim Clemente, Ms
Michelle Soares, Mr. Wendell Pinto.
PHOTOS FROM THE MEET: