‘We must not assume that all deportees are ruthless criminals’ – Granger
President David Granger has posited that not all deportee Guyanese are criminals, hence many of them have the opportunity of reintegrating into society.
He explained that all deportation cases are different and while there are those who are sent back to the country after serving time for heinous crimes committed abroad, there are some ‘involuntary migrants’ who were probably deported for minor offences such as immigration breaches.
“We mustn’t assume that all deportees are ruthless criminals and they don’t have relatives here, some of them will be fully integrated… So it’s a case by case basis, not one size fits all,” the President told reporters during this week’s televised programme – ‘The Public Interest’.
The Guyanese Leader noted that there is currently no structured plan in place to help deportees reintegrate into the Guyanese society, there are systems in place whereby these persons are recognised by the Ministry of Citizenship.
He noted that the ministry ensures that each deportee is interviewed and the circumstances which led to their deportation, once carefully examined, will decide how those cases are treated. The Head of State added too that the Citizenship Ministry is working along with the Police Force and Foreign Affairs Ministry to monitor and assist the involuntary migrants reintegrate.
“But we are concerned… we certainly don’t want any of our citizens to be destitute and we want to make sure they are integrated back into society so that they can live useful lives,” he explained.
On Tuesday last, United States officials handed over to local law enforcement 20 Guyana nationals who were deported after having served jail time for a range of offences. These involuntary migrants had been convicted for offences including homicide, robberies, possession of illegal firearms, drug trafficking and rape.
The Guyana Police Force is expected to monitor the convicted deportees. In fact, they were informed before being freed that they would have to report to specific police stations on a regular basis as part of the monitoring process.
Caribbean governments have complained bitterly over the years about nationals being deported to their country of birth without much information provided as to their medical and criminal backgrounds and even more importantly, some form of support regarding their smooth integration into their home countries.
In fact, President David Granger last month had expressed some level of concern with regards to Guyana’s ability to handle the influx of Guyanese convicted for serious and violent crimes being deported from the US and other countries.
The President has stated that Government will be looking to work with its US security counterparts with a view to being notified when such persons are being deported to Guyana.
Granger conceded that there is still some degree of narco-trafficking in Guyana in addition to execution-type murders and, “we don’t want to have people coming back here who contribute to that form of criminality.”
“We want to be better prepared,” the President said, as he disclosed that the issue is something the Public Security Ministry is aware of.
According to President Granger: “We will have to put measures in place to ensure deportees do not try to perpetrate crimes when they get back here but it is something we must prepare for.”