President Ali removes Haitians from list of visa-free nations

Last Updated on Thursday, 24 June 2021, 11:41 by Denis Chabrol

The Haitians and Cuban in Bon Fim shortly after they were arrested by Brazilian Federal Police. (file picture)

President Irfaan Ali has withdrawn the automatic six-month stay of Haitians on arrival in Guyana, now resulting in nationals of that former sister-Caribbean Community (CARICOM) having to get visas here.

The order, which  is dated June 22, 2021 and signed by President Irfaan Ali, removes Haitians from the list of nationals who can enter this country without visas. His order revokes the Immigration Order 2019 is revoked.

In a letter dated June 23, 2021 to Minister of Aviation Juan Edghill, the Attorney General Anil Nandlall said only Haitian diplomats would not require visas to enter Guyana. ” The effect of this revocation is that Schedule Ito the Immigration Act is amended, by the deletion of ‘Haiti’ from the list of countries whose nationals are entitled to an automatic six months stay in Guyana. Accordingly, nationals of Haiti are no longer entitled to an automatic permit to enter and remain in Guyana for six months. Additionally, nationals of Haiti, except Haitian diplomats, will require a visa to enter Guyana,” Mr. Nandlall said.

The Attorney General asked the Aviation Minister to advise the the Guyana Civil Aviation Authority, all airlines and the Chief Executive Officers of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and Eugene F. Correia International Airport, informing of this change in the law.

The Ministers of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs as well as the Police Commissioner who is the Chief Immigration Officer have been copied in on the letter to Mr. Edghill.

Earlier this week, the Attorney General had announced that government would be imposing visa requirements on Haitians amid persistent concerns by the government that tens of thousands of Haitians had arrived in Guyana legally but their whereabouts are unknown.

Mr. Nandlall said, based on trends for several months now, it was clear that Haitians were being moved through Guyana as part of a well-organised human smuggling ring. Officials have said that most of the Haitians end up in French Guiana via Suriname, and Brazil.

Currently, 10 youths, who were locked in a room at a hotel in Corentyne, Berbice, are being held at the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation, Onverwagt, West Berbice as police continue to search for those who have taken away their travel documents, money and other documents on their arrival from Suriname, Mr. Nandlall has said.