Dec 03, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Principal Magistrate Sherdel Marcus-Isaacs on Tuesday, granted an order for the 26 Haitian nationals, who were detained during a police operation last month, to be deported back to their homeland.
The order was granted although the Haitians were not officially charged or placed before the court.
The Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana, through attorney-at-law Darren Wade, filed a motion in the High Court for the Haitians to be put before the court.
However, the matter was brought before the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts and a deportation order was granted.
According to Wade, the Haitians were not charged and were not put before any court, making it difficult to understand on what grounds the deportation order is being supported.
The lawyer posited that the Haitians entered Guyana legally and were granted six months stay by the Immigration Department. The lawyer said that he intends to fight the deportation order in the High Court, since he believes it was wrongfully granted.
According to a press release, the 26 Haitians were discovered between November 7 and November 8, 2020, at a city hotel and in a mini-bus en route to Linden – Mabura Road.
It is reported that, out of the 24 Haitians discovered, there were 10 males, nine females, two boys and five girls.
The Haitians were being kept in protective custody, while the police force had launched an investigation. The Haitians are suspected to be involved in a Human Smuggling or Trafficking in Persons circle.
It was later revealed by Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, during a press conference that the seven Haitian children who were found during the two police operations might not be related to the adults, and they may have been trafficked.
Minister Benn had said that when Haitians enter the country, they usually disappear without any trace. For that reason, when this batch of Haitians entered the country they were under strict police surveillance, subsequently leading to them being arrested.
The Minister also told reporters, that he is anticipating the Haitians can be sent back to Haiti shortly and the government will be seeking to implement visa requirements for Haitians who wish to travel to Guyana. Guyana, as part of CARICOM, had dropped the need for visas for Haitians.
In a statement, Opposition Member of Parliament and Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Amanza Walton-Desir said, “A Haitian National is a CARICOM National. All CARICOM Nationals are entitled to enter into another CARICOM Member State and be issued an automatic six month stay, hassle free – that is to say, without harassment or the imposition of impediments.”
The Shadow Minister added, “The treatment of our Haitian brethren is inexcusable, it is wrong.” She criticized the detention of the Haitians and compared the way they were treated to other foreign nationals who enter Guyana in large numbers.=
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