MP Patterson demands GY$25 million for immigration blocking his departure from Guyana

Last Updated on Thursday, 26 October 2023, 17:38 by Denis Chabrol

Mr David Patterson

Opposition A Partnership for National Unity+Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC) parliamentarian, David Patterson is demanding that the State pays him GY$25 million as compensation for breach of his constitutional rights because he was blocked by the immigration department from leaving Guyana to travel to the United States (US).

Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes told Attorney General Anil Nandlall on October 10, 2023 that he was being given five days to respond to the demand. “We are further instructed that in the light of the expressed admission of the Chief Immigration Officer that the immigration officers had breached our client’s protected and guaranteed constitutional right to travel out of Guyana as provided in Article 148 of the Constitution of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana our client is entitled to vindicatory damages.”

Mr Hughes on Thursday evening said he would be filing legal action shortly against the government.

In the letter titled “Request for damages for breach of David Patterson’s fundamental guaranteed right of freedom of movement” to the Attorney General,  Mr Hughes alleged that his client’s fundamental right to travel out of Guyana was breached by the Chief Immigration officer when he refused to permit him to depart from Guyana on September 26, 2023.

According to Mr Hughes, despite the reminders from his counsel that there was an expressed order from Magistrate Daly granting permission to Mr Patterson to travel, the Chief Immigration Officer persisted in the refusal to permit our client to travel out of Guyana.

The lawyer said it was a matter of public record that Mr Patterson was travelling on official business in his capacity as a member of the National Assembly to meet with and address members of the congress of the US. “The actions of the Chief Immigration officer were intended to and did frustrate the official visit and presentations of our client,” he said.

The lawyer further told the Attorney General that given the gravity of the intentional violation of Mr Patterson’s protected right, the occasion which he missed as a result of the actions of the Chief Immigration Officer and the clear flouting of the order of Magistrate Daly his client is entitled to substantial damages.

Magistrate Leron Daly granted Mr Patterson bail on charges of using obscene language, provoking a breach of the peace and exposing his genitals in violation of the Sexual Offences Act. The Magistrate also agreed that the accused should be allowed to leave Guyana for personal and professional duties.

The Guyana Police Force on September 27, 2023 publicly apologised to Mr Patterson, saying that his name had inadvertently remained on an Immigration Department’s watchlist. The police force explained that his name had been placed on a watchlist in July 2023 during a then ongoing investigation into an accusation of indecent exposure.