Four Spanish-speaking women made their appearance before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Courts on Wednesday, to answer to a series of immigration charges.
The women were arrested on January 20, during a raid conducted at the Rio Night Club.
It is alleged that the first accused, Valine Ferreira of the Dominican Republic, with intent to defraud, conspired with persons between November 12, 2016 and January 20, 2017 to forge a Guyana immigration arrival stamp and a tourist visa in her passport, purporting to show that they were issued by the Guyanese immigration department.
It is also alleged that on November 12, 2016, the accused, at Springlands, Corentyne, made her entry into the country and did not present herself to Guyanese immigration officials. The defendant pleaded guilty to both charges and was fined $30,000 for the latter and $50, 000, with an alternative of six weeks’ imprisonment for the conspiracy charge.
Next, Yasmin Baeza,29, of Havana, Cuba, pleaded guilty to the charge which read that between November 29, 2016 and January 20, 2017, she overstayed her time in this country. The second charge stated that between December 30, 2016 and January 20, 2017, she conspired with persons to forge an immigration arrival and departure stamp in her passport purporting to show that it had been issued by Guyanese immigration authorities. She also pleaded guilty to this charge and was fined $30,000, with an alternative of four weeks in prison for overstaying and $50, 000, or six weeks’ imprisonment, for the charge of conspiracy.
Carmen Martano, the third defendant, a national of the Dominican Republic, allegedly conspired with persons to forge an arrival and departure stamp. She had also overstayed her time in the jurisdiction and was fined $30,000, with an alternative of four weeks imprisonment, and $50,000 or six weeks in prison for the former charge after she entered a guilty plea.
Finally, another Dominican national,33, was fined $30,000, with an alternative of four weeks in prison after she pleaded guilty to a charge which stated that between November 12, 2016 and January 20, 2017, she overstayed her time. She also allegedly conspired to forge arrival and departure immigration stamps on her passport and was required to pay a fine of $50,000 or with an alternative of six weeks’ imprisonment after entering a guilty plea.
According to the prosecution, these matters came to light after the women presented their documents and checks were made with the Guyana immigration authorities, subsequent to the Police raid at the city nightclub.
The defence counsel for the women argued that his clients, none of whom spoke English , had legitimate expectations when they had presented themselves to persons dressed as immigration officials to stamp their documents and in no way could have known or suspected that the said stamps were not genuine. He further stated that the women were willing to pay the fines imposed and requested to return to their countries of origin, as soon as possible.
After considering the prosecution’s evidence and the defence’s case, Chief Magistrate McLennan ruled that defendants would be escorted to the nearest port of exit after they comply with the imposed fines, or they will serve their time.