Haitians released because of wait time on High Court

Last Updated on Thursday, 10 December 2020, 13:41 by Denis Chabrol

Government Thursday afternoon said the 26 Haitians were released from custody Wednesday night because authorities do not know when a court case about their  immigration status will end.

“Since it cannot be determined when the legal proceedings will be concluded, the Haitians were offered either to remain at the facility or to be released at an address of their choice. They chose the latter,” government said in a statement.

Chief Justice Roxane George granted a Stay of Deportation Orders made in relation to 26 Haitians currently in Guyana.  Government said the case before the Chief Justice is still pending and there is no indication when it will be concluded.

The Guyana government said after their meals, Wednesday evening, the Haitians were dropped off at the address requested and their valuables and passports were delivered to them. They were

They were held at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration located at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice. The Haitians were taken by bus to a hotel and handed their passports..  It was from that hotel that a number of them had been arrested. Others had been arrested at Amelia’s Ward, Linden shortly after they had arrived in Guyana.

Their release came even as the Attorney General, Anil Nandlall filed additional court papers to bolster the State’s justification for arresting and detaining the Haitians.

Their lawyer, Darren Wade, says the Guyana government will be sued for inhumane and degrading punishment and several other human rights violations. He also says the Guyana government will be taken to the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Police affidavits released by the Attorney General’s Chambers sought to show that the Haitians violated immigration law by providing wrong information about their intended places of stay while in Guyana.

One of them stated on the immigration card that he was staying at 100 Duke Street, Kingston but when police checked that location it was a vacant lot.

Police also say they uncovered discrepancies about who was responsible for two young children who were among the Haitians who came to Guyana.

Government said the Hugo Chavez Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centreis not a detention centre but it is properly staffed, resourced and its guests are adequately fed and supervised. The facility is secured and the conditions hygienic, government said in apparent reference to opposition claims that there was no running water.

The mainly Afro-Guyanese supported opposition A Partnership for National Unity+,Alliance For Change has accused the mainly Indo-Guyanese dominated People’s Progressive Party Civic administration of discrminating against the Haitians.

“The Government wishes to reject the wild and reckless allegations that are circulating on this matter and implore that politicians and others, cease exploiting and sensationalizing this matter in the advancement of selfish agendas,” government said.