Haitians are being trafficked through Guyana

Dear Editor,

There is a little known phenomenon that has been gaining the attention of concerned Guyanese returning home from trips abroad. For some time now, large numbers of Haitians, estimated between 50 and 60, have been arriving at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA).

I was informed that they are not processed through immigration like other passengers. They seem to be organized and well attended to. But the final destination of these Haitian arrivals is not Guyana. Word on the street is that they will be taken backtrack to Suriname and French Guiana, and from there, some will be smuggled into the European Union.

On May 29, 2017, Kaieteur News reported that over 40 Haitians were left abandoned at the CJIA by human traffickers. Of these, 27 Haitian nationals, among them women and children, were placed in protective custody. According to the report, “10 people, including Haitians, Surinamese and Guyanese, were arrested while on their way to the airport to pick up 12 children and 15 adults.”

In June, Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge said he raised the plight of the 27 Haitian detainees with Cabinet, but apparently these Haitians are still in protective custody. According to Minister Greenidge, he has since reminded his fellow Ministers of Citizenship and Public Security to acquaint themselves with Guyana’s international obligations with regard to the treatment of migrants even as they work to resolve the matter.

“They’ve been encouraged by Cabinet to deal expeditiously with the matter before them and to go and look at the legislation and ensure that if the legislation needs to be modified or updated, it is modified and updated.”

Despite this, it is suspected that this human trafficking ring is still operational, and being aided by one or more official, or the Guyana Police Force.

These concerns must be investigated by the international community.

Yours faithfully,

Harry Gill, MP

PPP/C

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