Almost three dozen Haitians who arrived Friday were refused entry at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, Timehri and scheduled to be sent back yesterday.The Haitians all came here on one-way tickets, Kaieteur News was told.
Under regulations, Immigration Officers at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport, were supposed to be asking for evidence that persons had return tickets.
While over the years, there has reportedly been a relaxing of the requirements, the last year there was an influx of especially Haitians and Cubans.
Airport sources confirmed that there have been small numbers of Haitians arriving overtime without return tickets. These were let through.
However, Immigration held 34 Haitians who came on a Copa flight from Panama on Friday.
They were not allowed entry and were held by Immigration overnight at the airport.
They were supposed to have left on the Copa flight yesterday afternoon.
Guyana has been grappling with an influx of Caribbean nationals, especially from Cuba, and Haiti and from Venezuela.
It is estimated that more than 30,000 Venezuelans are living in Guyana now, at the border area in Region One.
There has not been many Haitians or Cubans registered officially or applying for citizenship, compared to what the airport has recorded as arriving.
Rather, it appeared that the majority of them were heading to Brazil and other countries. In other words, Guyana is being used as stepping stone by migrants.
Last year, in August, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, confirmed that for the year, more than 8,400 arrived. He provided evidence that the majority left for Brazil and other areas.
The issue had triggered a bitter debate with the Opposition accusing the Government, which is facing early elections, of using the Haitians to register them on the voters list.
There has been little evidence of this.
Minister Felix denied any human smuggling or trafficking was taking place.
Records from the Department show that in 2013, a total of 188 Haitians arrived in Guyana with 99 departures; in 2014; 227 arrivals and 113 departures; in 2015, 770 arrivals with 136 departures; in 2016, 722 arrivals with 451 departures; in 2018, 3,515 arrivals with 291 departures and in 2018, 1,238 arrivals with 85 departures.
In 2019, there was legislative adjustment to Schedule II of the Immigration Act, Cap. 14:02, to include Haiti as a beneficiary to the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME), which facilitates free movement within the Region and automatic entry and stay of six months in the CARICOM countries.
Prior to the amendment, the Act had facilitated the six-month automatic stay to other CARICOM member states including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, Montserrat, Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago with the exception of Haiti, whose nationals had required a visa and were only allowed to stay for up to 90 days or three months.
From January 2019 to July 30, 2019, there were 45,944 arrivals of Americans; 2,980 arrivals of Barbadians; 5,048 arrivals of Brazilians; 2,548 of British nationals; 12,259 arrivals of Canadians; 1,995 arrivals of Chinese; 41, 272 arrivals of Cubans; 679 arrivals of Indians; 2,900 arrival of Surinamese and 11,119 arrival of Trinidadians.
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