Visa restrictions for Cubans & Haitians; no record of 38,000 Haitians leaving Guyana between 2015-2021

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A passenger at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport [File photo]
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Anil Nandlall, SC, has announced visa restrictions for Haitian and Cuban nationals in an effort to clamp down on a suspected human trafficking ring in the country.

He made the disclosure during his weekly social media programme “Issues in the News” on Tuesday evening.

“It has long been suspected that they are part or their entry to Guyana is part of a human smuggling ring of international stature. They enter Guyana and they do not remain here, very few leave through the channels that they came. I believe Winston Felix when he was Immigration Minister had given some statistics which suggests that 40,000 Haitians came to Guyana over a four-year period but only 2000 or something like that went back through the airport and they’re not in Guyana.”

Nandlall also referenced last week’s discovery of ten Haitians who were found in a hotel in Skeldon, Berbice, without any passport or identification.

“The police found a number of very young people…These area are the classic trappings of a smuggling ring where you have young women, young men, just teenagers and people deposit them, they obviously came through the back track routes, they came from Suriname they have admitted that much, they came to Guyana illegally and the person just disappeared with their passports,” Nandlall contended.

As a result, the Attorney General noted that “only three countries now in the Caribbean have visa-free immigration policy in relation to Haitians. All the others had to put in place visa requirements because of same thing. Guyana is moving in that direction.”

According to data seen by this publication, as many as 9,239 Haitians entered Guyana in 2020. However, only 717 are documented as leaving.

So far for 2021, 1378 Haitians were documented entering Guyana but only 165 were shown to have left.

In fact, for the last six years, over 38,000 Haitian nationals are unaccounted for.