Greenidge, Felix written to by Parliament committee on ‘alarming’ overstays

Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix (left) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge (right)

Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge were written to on Thursday by the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Affairs and invited to the body’s July 4th meeting to discuss the large amounts of visitors overstaying their time here and the risk of human trafficking.

“They were written to last week but I haven’t seen a reply yet, it was on Thursday,” Chairman of the Committee, PPP/C MP Gail Teixeira, told Stabroek News yesterday, when contacted.

“Felix has been invited to come before the committee on July 4th, or another time convenient to him but preferably due to the issue of human trafficking, he was invited to the next meeting; July 4th,“ she added.

It was during discussions at the committee’s meeting on June 13th , that the “alarming” statistics on the number of Cubans and Haitians overstaying their time in Guyana, but who cannot be accounted for, was brought up and a decision was taken by members to summon the two ministers to discuss possible human trafficking.

“When you have a large number of people that cannot be found then something is definitely wrong…we have to find out what is really going on,” Teixeira had said during discussions of the findings.

 “It’s not a question of who is trickling in. The issue is not who is coming and going; it’s the issue of the numbers remaining and where you can’t find them, you can’t see them…This is trafficking, this is trafficking,” she added.

She had informed that at a sitting of the committee in February of this year questions were raised on the number of Haitians coming into the country but not leaving and a request for statistics on the entry numbers was made of Felix.

On May 23rd Felix wrote to the Clerk of the National Assembly and provided statistics of not only Haitians but of the eight main groups of foreign nationals with the largest arrival and departure figures for the past five years and the first quarter of this year.

Teixeira proposed to the committee that the Ministers of Citizenship and Foreign Affairs be called to answer questions on the data provided and more specifically what government was doing to address human trafficking concerns and what plans are in place to cater for humanitarian efforts for those groups needing assistance.

She had also provided a breakdown of the information and this is shown in the following table with the nationalities and numbers for arrivals and departures of the respective years.

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