Georgetown, Guyana – (August 11, 2015) Just one day after he had promised a review of the immigration systems after an incident involving the eight Indian nationals who had illegally entered Guyana, Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix this evening announced that 12 other persons are slated to be deported in the coming days due to illegal entry.
Speaking at a press conference at his office at Waterloo Street, Georgetown earlier this evening, Minister Felix said that around 14:00hrs today, air carrier Copa Airlines Flight CM 254 arrived at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), with a number of passengers including six Haitians, two Russians, one Colombian and four Cubans.
He disclosed that when the Immigration authorities checked their documents, it was discovered that none of the Haitians were in possession of a Guyanese visa. They were, however, in receipt of pseudo Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Guyana letters, which sought to allow them entry into the country. “They were denied leave to land and they were returned to the aircraft,” Minister Felix disclosed.
Of the two Russians, a married couple, the wife was found to be lacking the necessary paper work and suspected to be involved in other illegalities. She was returned to the aircraft and denied entry. Her husband, who was granted entry into Guyana, decided to return to the flight with his wife. Meanwhile, the lone Columbian had no visa or money to support himself in the country.
Four Cubans, two females and two children; three and five years old were also suspected to be involved in a journey that had illegalities surrounding it. Having been denied entry, they refused to return to the aircraft.
“They are now at Timehri. We are seeking to have the women and children suitably accommodated until they can leave on a flight tomorrow [Wednesday], instead of having to stay in cells with two children…we are seeking to have them under safer and more humane conditions prior to their flight,” he disclosed.
He noted that it is imperative that these matters are brought to the forefront since it would appear that Guyana seems to be a focal point for people who are either involved in ‘backtrack’ activities or trafficking in persons.
To this end he called on the airlines to observe the international regulations that is to ensure that people arriving in the country have the requisite documents and fulfill the requirements to be allowed into the country.
“That is what the airlines are mandated to do and in some cases, certain airlines seem to be deficient. The airlines must act responsibly. We are asking the airlines to simply observe this law… It is unfortunate that we had to once again take these actions to deny entry to visitors in this country. However, as visitors, one expects that you will comply with the regulations for travel to and from this country,” Minister Felix said.
According to Minister Felix, there are regulations which must be followed and he will be studying these in depth before calling a meeting with the Minister of Public Infrastructure, David Patterson with responsibility for transportation to pave a way forward for resolving with regard to airline requirements.
He said, that as a part of the mandate of the Ministry of Citizenship, the ports and borders of the country must be protected through proper channels of immigration. He noted that while the new administration came and met some of the deficient systems, these must not be allowed to persist as is.
Minister Felix said that the situation seems to be nothing new, but it will not be allowed to continue under this administration. “I will not allow myself the luxury of believing that this is now happening. This has been happening way before my time,” he said.