By Abena Rockcliffe
It seems as if precautionary measures being taken around the world may help Guyana in its quest to bar potential terrorists from entering the country.
Kaieteur News recently reported that the Guyana Government is on the lookout for potential terrorists after being warned by certain countries to so do.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge said, “In the few weeks since we have been in office we have already seen some odd trends…and trends include a sudden rise in visa applications from South Asia.”
He added that at the same time, the Government of Guyana received alerts from the governments of some of the very “South Asian” countries regarding the movement of potential terrorists.
Greenidge identified some of the “South Asia” jurisdictions as Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and India.
He said that Guyana had picked up, from the general system, that countries had detected increased movements of terrorists from such countries. Therefore, there became a need for special care in monitoring the movements out of those counties.
“We were then told to be careful,” said Greenidge.
While Greenidge refused to state exactly where his warnings came from, he said, “You must know that only a few countries have the ability to do such monitoring, in order to warn us.”
Yesterday, Greenidge said that the high volume of applications for visas to travel to Guyana was by nationals of India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and Nepal in particular.
Greenidge specified that while some of these applications are for student and business purposes, a significant amount is for tourist purposes.
The Minister added that “at least one international airline has therefore been denying boarding of its aircraft to some tourist visa holders from these countries.”
He said too that apart from the issue of terrorists, there is of course the matter of trafficking in persons, which is also a major issue.
Greenidge said that Guyana will remain keen to protect itself from being invaded by potential terrorists, maintaining that the country is in no way prepared.
Previously, Greenidge had said that “Guyana has little capacity to monitor ordinary criminals, let alone an influx of illegal immigrants from those parts of the world where terrorism is crossing new boundaries – see Thailand for example.”
BBC had reported on Tuesday that “a second foreign suspect has been arrested in connection with the deadly bombing at a Bangkok shrine in August.”
A foreign man was arrested in Bangkok on Saturday for the blast which killed 20 people.
Greenidge said that if Guyana was to become open to situations similar to that of Thailand the country would indeed be in a sad state, especially when Guyana’s capacity to deal with terrorists is considered.
“If terrorists arrive in Guyana they would wreak havoc, therefore, we must be careful.”
Greenidge told Kaieteur News that he had discussions with the Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, regarding alerts and arrangements to ensure both careful monitoring and proper handling of visitors.
Kaieteur News made persistent efforts both on Tuesday and yesterday to get in contact with Felix in order to find out about measures that may have been put in place but he remains unavailable.
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