As headlined by KN, with supporting pictures, and follow-up coverage, thousands of Haitians are present in Guyana. That much has not been disputed by anyone in authority with any degree of energy and volume; that is telling.
That alone brings to this question, which are really several under a single tent: why are they here; where are they; and how many are still around?
The first thing that should be said is that Haitians are part of the Caricom bloc and are entitled to participate in regional free-movement arrangements. Still the timing of their arrivals raises eyebrows in a sensitive racially-driven political environment, particularly since the total is over 8,000 with more on the way.
It could be routine and innocent; except that this is Guyana, and in a foaming election time, nothing is quite so simple.
It could be posited that an oil boom is in the making, but that balloon is still to be blown. Locals themselves are not experiencing any substantial involvement, other than for scraps, in terms of the Golden Fleece: jobs; and, they are not in transit visa applicants, like the Cubans.
In addition, though Guyana can claim to be a few steps up the ladder when the woes of Haiti is discussed, its citizens were not coming here before in equivalent numbers, so why now?
On cue, the reverberations from vigilant opposition quarters have been rapid. Careful listening hears that mischief is in the making; things not adding up, something is wrong and that these arrivals call for watchful eyes, an investigation. Stated differently, “tings na regulah”! Because if the usual and draining human pursuits of a job, and an improved quality of living, can be reasonably questioned, if not ruled out, then what is left?
Now, in view of the peculiar timing of the rolling influx of Haitians, which just happened to be a closely guarded secret for over seven months in this leaky society, suspicions are not ungrounded. In fact, they flare, relative to numbers, parallels (if any), and their feared contributions in a looming elections season.
Somebody is sure to scream, “Foul!” And now with KN’s untimely and inconvenient revelations, with specifics attached, the air grows thick and heavy.
To blow on the embers of escalating suspicions, the government has trotted out what can be best described as impotent, unhelpful, and unconvincing. Details are murky as to the whereabouts of 8,000 plus foreigners, since very little is being said publicly. The best that could have been drummed up was the possibility of the Haitians capitalizing on ‘back-track’ opportunities, which only opens many sluices of speculations on an already flooded and soggy situation.
Back-track pathways are going to require restoration, given the onslaught of so many rushing, pounding feet. Separately, 8,000 largely non-English speaking outsiders will take a lot of hiding, and skilled covert ops.
Obviously, a spirited and well-managed start was made at Timehri, complete with ushers, handlers, transporters and-dare it be said-safe houses. Wherever they are, and the mortgage money can be confidently wagered, they are not heading to Suriname or Caracas.
So, the first two questions linger: why and where? Rather regrettably, there is a third and final inquiry, as to how many are still actually here in this swelling, piercing elections season. It is similarly unknown. That has been the public admission of officialdom. A speculating citizenry watches (half of the divide only); while an increasingly agitated opposition pays keen attention.
This much cannot be dismissed, 8,000 strangers could come in very handy: icebreaker, tiebreaker, and a backbreaker of a game changer. For 8,000 adults in Guyana at this witching hour is the equivalent of a horse. It could make a political kingdom come. There is one problem with a possible Trojan Horse crammed with Haitians: not a secret anymore, even though it is within the city gates. The last question is only human: to what purpose will they be put?
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