Haitians ordered to leave Guyana; authorities suspect “human smuggling”

Last Updated on Monday, 12 June 2017, 11:16 by Denis Chabrol

Several Haitians, who came here several weeks ago, have been ordered to leave Guyana because investigators suspect that they were being smuggled to another destination, officials said Monday.

Minister of Immigration and Citizenship, Winston Felix said eight adults and six children were sent back to Haiti last week Thursday after their return tickets were upgraded.

He said efforts were being made to return eight others, including a few children,  who do not have monies to pay for their airfares”which says something about how they came.” “As soon as we can get them out, that will be done,” he said.

“The rationale for having them depart is based on a police investigation and the advice given by the Police Legal Adviser,” the Minister said, while declining to give details of the probe. “We were advised that they should be sent back, based on the investigation, and that is the rationale,” he said. Felix said no discrepancies were found with their documents but “a collection of circumstances” dictated that they should be sent back.

Asked whether trafficking was suspected, he said “trafficking has not been fully established but it might be lurking somewhere on the horizon.”

For his part, Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud said the ongoing probe has found “some of the Haitians are entering Guyana for other destinations and that it’s organised.”

He said all of the suspected human smugglers are on bail pending further investigations by the Guyana Police Force’s Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU).

After Suriname last year introduced visas for Haitians who were transiting that country to neighbouring French Guiana, they then opted to land here and move on to their final destination.