Last Updated on Tuesday, 22 June 2021, 20:55 by Denis Chabrol
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall on Tuesday night announced that Haitians and Cubans would soon require visas to travel to Guyana, amid concerns about a well-organised human trafficking ring.
“We are taking a position that will require visas for these nationals when they come including Haitian nationals, Cuban nationals etc. so the government of Guyana will be moving in that direction,” he said.
In making the the announcement on a Social Media presentation, he predicted that the opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) would seek to exploit government’s decision to counter the country being used as an international human transshipment point on the basis of race. “We will have to deal with the allegations of race because that is all that the APNU+AFC does,” he said. Haitians are of African descent and the governing People’s Progressive Party Civic is mainly supported by Indo-Guyanese while APNU+AFC is backed by mostly Afro-Guyanese.
The Attorney General noted that currently, only three Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries do not require Haitians to obtain visas.
Mr. Nandlall said Guyana has already raised concerns about the large scale movement of Haitians and Cubans with the Cuban and American embassies, United Nations Human Rights Commission and INTERPOL. Cubans are required to travel to Guyana for American visa appointments.
He said Suriname also faces similar concerns about the legal arrival of large number of Haitians but the records show that only a small number leave the country.
Quite recently, according to the Legal Affairs Minister, 10 youths including a pregnant woman, had been held at a hotel on the Corentyne after they had been brought from neighbouring Suriname. He said they have since been moved to the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation at Onverwagt, West Coast Berbice while police search for those responsible for taking away their travel documents and other items.
Law enforcement agencies have in the past held Haitians heading to Brazil. After being denied entry at Lethem, a number of them had been held earlier this year by Brazilian Federal Police through a cooperative arrangement with Guyana’s Customs Anti Narcotic Unit.