Opposition’s concern over foreign nationals “melodramatic” says Min. Greenidge

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, June 26, 2018

The matter of a large number of Haitians transiting in Guyana is “nothing new” says Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carl Greenidge, who on Monday referred to the opposition’s concern as “melodramatic.”

The minister was speaking at the recess of the 89th Sitting on the National Assembly, where he noted that there is confusion of issues related to the movement of foreign nationals through Guyana.

Foreign Affairs Minister: Carl Greenidge.

According to Minister Greenidge, over the years, there has been “irregular migration” or a vast number of foreign nationals moving throughout the region.

As it relates to Haitians, Minister Greenidge reminded that only recently, at the last Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Intersessional Meeting, Heads of Government called on member countries to revisit their laws with respect to the treatment of Haitians.

He also reminded that when Haiti gained its independence, it introduced a public policy to open its borders to Caribbean nationals and Africans landing there. “…and we are today being prompted by people around the place to take action against Haitians,” Minister Greenidge said.

Echoing similar sentiments as Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, Minister Greenidge noted that Haitians who come here are usually en route to French Guiana, questioning how the Foreign Relations Committee concluded that hundreds of Haitians are hiding here.

“Where are they? They are such a big population that if 20 people appear in Georgetown, everybody knows what their name is; whose house they are staying at; and what they ate,” the minister reasoned.

Like Minister Felix, the Foreign Affairs Minister reminded of the age-old issue of monitoring Guyana’s long and porous borders, citing the “backtrack” route. “If there is that facility, you’d have one number for persons coming in and those leaving differing.”

These facts, Minister Greenidge said, are known by the Foreign Relations Committee, which he is expected to appear before on July 4. While the extent of backtracking is unknown, he assured that the government will continue to act in a responsible manner as it relates to foreign nationals arriving here.

Additionally, in relation to the increasing numbers of Venezuelans, he noted that this is not peculiar to Guyana as there has been a discussion on the increase in their movement across the region.

In light of the existing problems in that country, Minister Greenidge expressed that the situation has to be treated in a humane manner.

By: Stacy Carmichael.


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