Two attempts to have Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix face questions at the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Affairs have been unsuccessful.
The bi-partisan Committee is eager to question Felix following a rash of concerns pertaining to the large numbers of Haitians and Cubans who have been documented as entering Guyana, but for whom there are no records of departure.
Felix was invited to attend yesterday’s meeting of the Committee at the Parliament Building, but informed that he is unavailable to attend the session.
The Committee’s Chair, Opposition Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira told Kaieteur News that the Committee has subsequently received a list of available dates from the Minister and selected one.
The Ministry of Citizenship has revealed to the Committee that some 22,520 persons were documented as entering between January and April this year, but apparently 6,170 of those have not departed.
Based on documentation, 17,615 persons entered Guyana between 2013 and April 2018, but there is no record of their departure. Worrying is that there are no departure records for 7,255 of the 44,747 Cubans who arrived in Guyana during 2017.
For the Haitians, the records show, 3515 were recorded as entering Guyana in 2017, but 291 has been documented as departing the country.
The Opposition has questioned the whereabouts of the visitors. It is contending that the Government officials were involved in a widespread backtrack racket for which Guyana identification cards are being issued.
There were suggestions that this was being done to secure votes, a claim that Felix rubbished.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, noted that Haitians who come here are usually en route to French Guiana. He queried how the Foreign Relations Committee could conclude that hundreds of Haitians are hiding here.
“Where are they? They are such a big population that if 20 people appear in Georgetown, everybody knows what their name is; whose house they are staying at; and what they ate,” the Minister reasoned.
According to Minister Greenidge, over the years, there has been “irregular migration” or a vast number of foreign nationals moving throughout the region.
The Foreign Affairs Minister reminded of the age-old issue of monitoring Guyana’s long and porous borders, citing the “backtrack” route.
“If there is that facility, you’d have one number for persons coming in and those leaving differing.”
These facts, Minister Greenidge said, are known by the Committee.
Oct 16, 2018By Sean Devers in Trinidad In association with Regal, Vnet, Noble House Seafoods & Cascadia Hotel In murky conditions and played before virtually empty stands, Guyana Jaguars, led by a 79-run...
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