Thousands of Haitians come to Guyana; no record of them leaving

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Thousands of Haitians have arrived in Guyana over recent years, but authorities have no records of them leaving.

Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix, appearing before the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Relations Thursday, said he was sure that the Haitians take the “backtrack” route to Suriname on their way to the French Guiana capital of Cayenne, where they may have relatives.

The Opposition was concerned that the Haitians could be victims of trafficking, but Felix said there was no evidence to suggest that that is happening.

“We have not suspected any trafficking of Haitians, in Guyana or through Guyana,” he told committee members.

Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix

Opposition Member Nigel Dharamlall inquired why the Government continues to let the Haitians in the country when there is no record of them leaving.

But Felix said the Government is obligated to admit Haitians for an automatic six-month stay since they are nationals of the regional trade and integration bloc CARICOM.

“Our visa policy with CARICOM permits their arrival and we are not going to stop them,” Felix made clear.

Recent figures show that since 2013, only half the number of foreign nationals arriving in the country are leaving.

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge had previously indicated that the Government cannot stop backtracking.

“We have no means of monitoring all the exits from Guyana…This is parcel of having a long set of borders and a small population…It is not my responsibility in any case, to deal with that matter but I am not going to promise you and nobody in government should promise you, that they are going to be able to stop that, you can’t,” the Foreign Minister had told reporters.

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