(A group of Haitian nationals at Guyana’s CJIA) Photo credit: Kaieteur News
More than 42,000 Haitians arrived in Guyana from 2015-2021, only 3,900 departed officially based on government records.
Shortly after Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall touted visa restrictions for Haitians travelling to Guyana, it was disclosed that more than 38,000 Haitian nationals cannot “be accounted for”, from 2015 to 2021.
According to a document seen by the Big Smith News Watch, a total of 42,100 nationals of Haiti arrived in Guyana during this period with only 3,913 leaving through the legal channels. As such a total of 38,187 persons cannot be accounted for.
Majority of these persons travelled in 2019 with a whopping 20,261 persons documented on arrival in Guyana and only 1,697 have left, showing a difference of 18,564.
Further in 2021, 1,378 persons arrived but only 165 departed.
Recently, the Government disclosed that a group of ten young Haitian nationals were found locked up in a hotel at the Swiss Hotel in Skeldon, Corentyne Berbice. They were found without their documents including passports. These persons transferred to the Hugo Chavez Centre for Rehabilitation and Reintegration under the direct care of the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security as the police try to find the suspected human-traffickers.
On Tuesday evening, Nandlall stated that Guyana will be instituting visa restrictions for Haitian and Cuban nationals among others who are reportedly being smuggled through Guyana. He said “we have to take a position against our country being used as an international smuggling trans-shipment point.”
Only three countries in the Caribbean have visa-free travel for Haitians in their immigration policies.
Once persons apply for transit from visa, they will be able to disembark in Guyana and then proceed to their next destination. However, if persons enter Guyana legally but there is no trace of their departure through the legal ports of entry, this can be signs of human-trafficking.
Human-trafficking is considered modern-day slavery involving the illegal transport of individuals by force or deception for the purpose of labour, sexual exploitation, or activities in which others benefit financially.