Georgetown, Guyana – (March 8, 2019) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, has condemned outright, the misinformation being peddled in the public domain, particularly on social media, labelling the Immigration Order for Haitians as an “election-rigging” mechanism. He said these allegations are “wicked and unfounded and are intended to mislead, as well as create the inaccurate impression that Haitians are being treated differently from other foreign nationals coming to Guyana”.
The Minister reminded that this Immigration Order is in keeping with a unanimous decision that was taken by CARICOM Heads of Government at their 39th Summit in Jamaica in July 2018, to allow Haitians an automatic of six-month stay in all CARICOM Member States.
“This arrangement is not confined to Guyana, it is being implemented by all signatories to the CSME [Caribbean Single Market and Economy] … Haitians are members of the Caribbean Community and we have to treat them as such,” he said.
Responding directly to claims that this Order is being used by the Government to “pad the Voters’ List”, Minister Felix explained that Haitians arriving in Guyana, are not granted any form of citizenship; instead, they have to qualify by their residency status. As such, the impression that the Government is handing out citizenship to Haitians upon arrival so that they can be registered as voters, is patently false and without merit.
“This is a deliberate attempt to spread misinformation about a legitimate agreement being executed by the Government of Guyana as a member of CARICOM… Guyana is an open country, we have immigration laws and our immigration laws are used to deal with all persons arriving from different nations,” the Minister affirmed.
Moreover, towards the end of 2018, neighbouring Suriname made the necessary adjustments to its immigration protocols regarding Haitians, so they no longer have to travel through Guyana get to Suriname, French Guiana and other jurisdictions.