Dec 04, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – Chief Justice (Ag), Roxane George-Wiltshire, last evening placed a hold on an order by Magistrate Sherdel Marcus-Isaacs to deport 26 Haitians back to their homeland.
The stay granted after 6:00 pm, followed an application by attorney-at-law, Darren Wade, in the Georgetown High Court.
Wade had filed a Fixed Date Application (FDA) which seeks to invoke sections of the fundamental rights provision of the Constitution.
However, during a Zoom hearing of the proceedings last evening, Attorney General(AG) and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, who is representing the State’s interest in the matter, said that the sections only apply to citizens of Guyana and the Commonwealth and other persons who are listed under Article 47 of the Constitution.
“Haiti is not one of those territories,” Nandlall said adding that “These persons are aliens under the Constitution.”
Further, the AG said that Haiti has not signed on to the free movement aspect of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) programme under CARICOM.
In light of this, Nandlall contended the court has no jurisdiction to hear the application.
The Chief Justice (CJ), nonetheless, issued an order staying the deportation order of the Magistrate until the hearing and determination of the FDA.
On Tuesday, Principal Magistrate Sherdel Marcus-Isaacs, granted an order for the 26 Haitian nationals, who were detained during a police operation last month, to be deported.
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.
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 minibus 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 victims in a human smuggling or trafficking in persons’ operation.
It was recently 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 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 of visas for Haitians.
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