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Reply to "The extraordinary growth in number of Haitians passing thru CJIA is the result of Free-Movement decisions taken by CARICOM a year ago"

PPP believes that there is a massive people smuggling racket taking place in Guyana

https://citizensreportgy.com/?p=12284

The alarming statistics on the number of Cubans, as well as Haitians who cannot be accounted for, since entering Guyana, caused the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, in 2018, to summon Minister Felix and then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, on June 13, 2018 to answer pointed questions with regards to possible human trafficking. The Parliamentary Committee examined statistics provided by Minister Felix himself for the period 2015 to April 30, 2018. The immigration figures showed that a total of 93,374 Cubans arrived in Guyana, but only 76,663 were recorded to have left. This meant that 16,711 Cubans were unaccounted for and probably still in Guyana. With regards to the Haitians, for the same period, a total of 6,245 arrived in Guyana, but only 963 were recorded to have left. Again like the Cubans, a large number of 5,282 Haitians were also unaccounted for and probably in Guyana.”

Notably, according to the PPP, stated that “…the Party is primarily worried that these foreign nationals are being issued with Guyanese documents, which would allow them to be registered as eligible Guyanese voters in the ongoing house-to-house registration being done by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The plan afoot seems to be one that envisages the padding of the Voters’ List with fictitious persons – an old rigging tactic reminiscent of the People’s National Congress’ (PNC) time in office from the 1960’s.”

As a result, “The Party reiterates the call of our General Secretary for a full-fledged investigation into this matter and calls on President David Granger to abandon his usual posture of silence in the face of the scandals embroiling his Administration and address this matter with urgency.”

Below is the full statement from the CCJ: 

The appalling statements made by two senior APNU+AFC Coalition government officials – relative to the daily disclosures about thousands of foreign nationals entering Guyana, with no record of them leaving – must be openly condemned.

Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, has been quoted as saying that he believes that the Haitians are using Guyana as a stepping-stone to other countries, including Brazil, Suriname and French Guiana. It is alarming that this is the position of a Minister who should be concerned with the correlated issues of national security and human trafficking.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister, Winston Jordan, has been reported as saying: “If I (foreigner) am prepared to cut grass for $1,000, but the native (Guyanese) wants to cut grass for $1,500, who are you going to employ? Most obviously, the $1,000…I would go for the $1,000.” That this is the position of Guyana’s Finance Minister – effectively supporting the displacement of Guyanese from the job market, at a time when Guyana has recorded 30,000 jobs lost in the last four years – is unacceptable.

The People’s Progressive Party (PPP) believes that there is a massive people smuggling racket and inaction cannot be the order of the day. This is an issue that was raised a year ago and the APNU+AFC Coalition has refused to address it.

The alarming statistics on the number of Cubans, as well as Haitians who cannot be accounted for, since entering Guyana, caused the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, in 2018, to summon Minister Felix and then Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, on June 13, 2018 to answer pointed questions with regards to possible human trafficking. The Parliamentary Committee examined statistics provided by Minister Felix himself for the period 2015 to April 30, 2018. The immigration figures showed that a total of 93,374 Cubans arrived in Guyana, but only 76,663 were recorded to have left. This meant that 16,711 Cubans were unaccounted for and probably still in Guyana. With regards to the Haitians, for the same period, a total of 6,245 arrived in Guyana, but only 963 were recorded to have left. Again like the Cubans, a large number of 5,282 Haitians were also unaccounted for and probably in Guyana.

The more recent exposés in the Kaieteur News– detailing the arrival of over 8,600 Haitians in the last seven months – have focused on one group of foreign nationals, the issue at hand involves other nationals, including Cubans. This may just be the tip of the iceberg.

In 2018, Minister Felix denied, before the Parliamentary Committee and media, that there was any truth to the information publicly stated by the Opposition Leader that Haitians were being given preferential treatment airside on arrival with special facilitators. He refused to check the CCTV cameras at the airport and told the Opposition Parliamentarians to bring the evidence. Needless to say, the recent media reports have exposed the untruth in Minister Felix’s comments.

Further, the Party is primarily worried that these foreign nationals are being issued with Guyanese documents, which would allow them to be registered as eligible Guyanese voters in the ongoing house-to-house registration being done by the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM). The plan afoot seems to be one that envisages the padding of the Voters’ List with fictitious persons – an old rigging tactic reminiscent of the People’s National Congress’ (PNC) time in office from the 1960’s.

The Party’s General Secretary, Bharrat Jagdeo, has repeatedly raised this issue of people smuggling over the past year, while the local media corps has advanced its investigative reporting on the issue this week. Curiously, APNU+AFC Coalition officials have remained silent on the primary issues of concern.

The magnitude of this operation has to involve the Guyana Revenue Authority, the Immigration Department, the Guyana Registrar’s Office and the Airline; these must come clean on the worrying state of affairs.
The People’s Progressive Party firmly believes that Minister Felix is neck-deep in this matter and is complicit by his refusal to investigate this matter. One may wonder why this Minister is so vociferous in denying this racket, which is so patently obvious. The PPP is not convinced that the Minister is so obtuse. We believe that he knows who the facilitators are, including those in his Department of Citizenship. Minister Felix must be held accountable for what is happening.

The Party reiterates the call of our General Secretary for a full-fledged investigation into this matter and calls on President David Granger to abandon his usual posture of silence in the face of the scandals embroiling his Administration and address this matter with urgency.

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