Guyana to tighten immigration restrictions on Haitians to stem suspected human trafficking

Last Updated on Thursday, 17 June 2021, 17:50 by Denis Chabrol

Government is preparing to impose immigration restrictions on Haitians who would like to travel to Guyana, but Attorney General Anil Nandlall on Thursday stopped short of saying outright that nationals of that French-creole nation would need visas to come here.

“The measures shall be consistent with those in the Region,” he told Demerara Waves Online News/ News-Talk Radio Guyana 103.1 FM. Suriname, Barbados, and Dominica are among several other sister-Caribbean Community (CARICOM)-member nations that require Haitians to obtain visas.

Mr. Nandlall’s  hint of tight restrictions on Haitians wishing to travel to Guyana came in a statement in which he related that Guyanese police  have discovered 10 Haitian persons, claiming to be juveniles,  at the Swiss Hotel, Skeldon, Corentyne.

“The Government of Guyana will also immediately review its immigration protocols and impose such lawful restrictions and conditions that it considers necessary in the circumstances,”  he said.

Mr. Nandlall says the government suspects that there is a human-trafficking ring with links to Brazil and Suriname. He says  the Guyana government “feels compelled to inform the relevant  international agencies dealing with human trafficking and smuggling of persons, including children. In this regard, he said the Guyana government would engage the United Nations Humans Rights  Council, the International Organisation for Migration and INTERPOL and requests their urgent intervention and assistance.

The Attorney General says one of the 10 persons told police that they were brought to Guyana from Suriname and their passports, documents, money and other belongings have been taken away. They reportedly said they were placed in the hotel since June 14.

“It has long been suspected that there is a huge trafficking in persons and human  smuggling ring, including children, taking place in the Region and Guyana is being used as a transit point in this racket, which includes Cubans, Nigerians and Haitians, among others. This is the latest manifestation of this nefarious racket at work which seems to be operating on a daily basis,” the Attorney General said.

Suriname, a sister-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state, has visa restrictions on Haitians but authorities in Suriname believe that there is a smuggling ring that facilitates their entry by air there. Barbados and Dominica have in recent years re-imposed visa restrictions on Haitians.

Authorities say that many Haitians either go on to French Guiana or Brazil.  A small number of Haitians are working in Guyana mainly as security guards.

Both the People’s Progressive Party Civic administration and A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change, while in government, had noted that a large number of Haitian and Cubans have been arriving here legally but from all accounts have been leaving Guyana illegally for Suriname and Brazil

The Attorney General said last week Wednesday, a number of  Haitians, Nigerians and Cubans were found near Lethem, a Guyanese town near Brazil.  He said a number of them did not have any Guyanese entry s  amps in their passports.  He said this is taking place when all neighboring borders with Guyana are currently

Mr. Nandlall further highlighted that there is a continuous influx of these persons at both Cheddi Jagan International  Airport and the Eugene Correia International Airport at Ogle.