No other country determines who enters Guyana

No other country determines who enters Guyana

Dear Editor,

It is clear Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Anil Nandlall, is making every effort to divert attention from the Government’s unjust decision to place 26 Haitians before the Magistrate Court for deportation. The Government’s decision is not about the law, it is about the Haitians.
The Attorney General in a recent interview with Trinidad and Tobago CCN TV6 reportedly made allegations to justify the deportation. His main reasons are:
1. Guyana does not have the capacity to handle large influx of Haitians and Cubans; and

  1. Brazil complained that Guyana is being used by Haitians and Cubans as transshipment.
    In the instance of No.1, the 26 Haitians entered Guyana through a legal port (airport), submitted themselves to Immigration authority, and were granted entry. There exists no need to deport them when they have not overstayed their time or committed a crime warranting deportation. Further, their hotel accommodation was not at the government’s expense and the government is out of order to raid their domicile, take them into custody and restrict their movement under police guard, first at the Criminal Investigation Department and presently at the Hugo Chavez Centre.

The Laws of Guyana allow Haitians, who are part of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to enter and stay for six months like every citizen of other countries who are members of the Caribbean Single Market Economy (CSME). The deprivation of this right and freedom to Haitians by the Government, and excuse by the Attorney General that he was unaware of this law, must not be accepted.

The planned deportation of the Haitians has been foiled thus far because decent and law-abiding Guyanese have spoken out and offered their support. This matter is now before the High Court, and in this charged political environment, it is hoped the court’s decision would be guided by the law.

It is another sad day for Guyana not only as a founding and leading member of CARICOM but as a nation that is prepared to violate its own laws to go after a group of people. We must be unafraid to call it for what it is – it is an injustice against Haitians because of their ethnicity. Referencing alleged concerns about Cubans and Brazil are red herrings. Guyana is a sovereign state, and no other country determines for Guyana, as with every sovereign nation, who enters. It is a country’s immigration laws that guide this practice. This is what the Attorney General must be held accountable to.

Lincoln Lewis

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