Cabinet tasked Ministers for expedient resolution of detained Haitians

DPI/GINA, Guyana, Friday, June 16, 2017

Cabinet has expressed the need to treat with the investigations into the detention of Haitian nationals who arrived in Guyana last May.

Second Vice President and Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge said he had raised this need at Cabinet. The Minister was addressing questions during a press briefing held in the Ministry’s boardroom today.

Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge.

“We need to move expeditiously to decide one way or another whether there is actually evidence and to try and ensure that children and women who may be in that group, in particular, are not put in any unacceptable circumstances,” Minister Greenidge said.

In May local media reported that some 27 Haitian nationals, including women and children, were placed in protective custody upon arrival at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), after police suspected they were victims of a human trafficking ring.

Minister Greenidge told media that he has since reminded his fellow Ministers of Citizenship and Public Security to acquaint themselves with Guyana’s international obligations as regards to the treatment of migrants even as they work to resolve the matter.

“They’ve been encouraged by Cabinet to treat 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”, Minister Greenidge shared.

The Foreign Affairs Minister explained that Guyana is not usually, “a destination of significant migrant flows” and regulations and legislation have not been modified to take account of that.

“The police in this case…acted in a way consistent with the legislation that may not be appropriate for large migrant flows including refugees,” Minister Greenidge reasoned.

The Minister also  explained that the agencies which  are addressing the situation are likely to seek assistance in resolving the matter. The situation of the Haitians is a “sensitive matter” that cannot be addressed by any one agency the Minister noted “and has to be more carefully examined if these hiccups…are to be avoided”.

Additionally, Minister Greenidge said that he is in discussion with the Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, to ensure that Guyana tracks and maximizes opportunities that address regional immigration.

 

By: Tiffny Rhodius

 

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