Tourism Minister Catherine Hughes said authorities were crafting a set of criteria for incoming passengers so that airlines would be better informed, and that intended travelers would first have to apply for visas Online.
“We are also going to publicise more to the airlines what the requirements are. Unfortunately, the situation we had with Insel Air was that the airline is responsible. If you bring somebody and they are not landed, you are responsible for taking them out,” she said.
Hughes explained that intended travelers would soon be able to apply for provisional visas Online and, if approved, they would have to satisfy all the requirements.
Provisional visas would also be granted to employees who would have to be greeted at the airport by an employer’s representative to guarantee to immigration that the company would be responsible for the incoming passenger.
The Tourism Minister said several foreigners were refused entry to Guyana because they were suspected to have been part of a human trafficking operation.
She said a number of arriving passengers were disallowed from entering the country because no one was at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to meet them, had no out-bound reservation, no proof to sustain them while in Guyana and in provided inaccurate information about having had a reservation on COPA Airlines.
“There were areas for concerns. There were enough red flags for the Immigration to feel strongly that we could not land these individuals,” she said. Hughes suggested that Guyanese authorities had received information and intelligence about a number of the incoming passengers.
The Tourism Minister said during an inter-agency meeting with the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, as well as InselAir, Roraima Airways (ground handlers for Insel Air) and the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer she was made aware of several reasons to bar a number of persons from entering Guyana.
In recent months, several Indian nationals, Haitians and Cubans have been prevented from entering Guyana because they did not meet the criteria.