Acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry fined two men claiming to be Brazilian refugees $30,000 each after they pleaded guilty to entering Guyana illegally, when they appeared in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court yesterday.
According to the facts of the case, on October 22 Spencer Destine and Joseph John Bernard at Lethem Rupununi entered Guyana by crossing a land frontier and did not present themselves before an immigration officer. They both pleaded guilty to the charge.
Destine, through an interpreter, told the court that they were told by Brazil’s Federal Police that they can cross the border to shop, so they crossed to shop and when they did not find what they were seeking in the area, they travelled to Georgetown. After shopping in the city they bought a ticket to travel back to Brazil but they were stopped by the police and were told that they had to remain in Guyana.
Both men are Haiti nationals and tendered a document which stated that they had been granted refugee status in Brazil for 90 days. The document will have to be faxed to Brazil to determine its legitimacy, a representative from the Brazilian embassy said.
The duo will remain in custody until they can be deported.