Georgetown, Guyana – (April 11, 2019) Minister of Citizenship, Mr. Winston Felix, leading a local team at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, today, concluded the second round of bilateral talks on migration, with a delegation from the Government of Cuba. The discussion focused on strengthening collaboration between the two countries and providing a framework to review migratory patterns.
The meeting discussed the ways in which the two countries can combat irregular migration and ensure that persons travelling to both territories do so in a way that is lawful, safe and reduces opportunities for Trafficking in Persons (TIP), among other matters. As such, the meeting also examined the possibility of instituting a requirement for Cubans entering Guyana to have a visa.
Minister Felix said Guyana welcomes persons who visit the country legally. “Once they leave Cuba legally and they arrive here legally; we are going to accept them and treat them as all other members of the Caribbean family are treated,” he said.
The Minister also said that the Government’s policy has been to supress visas as a requirement for entering into the country, noting that in all countries there are groups of persons who sometimes, become invisible and cannot be accounted for. “What we have to do is to manage it and to ensure that over time, those who are invisible can be brought to light and we can understand what is happening,” he said.
Leader of the Cuban delegation and Director of the Division of Consular Affairs and Cuban Residents Abroad, Mr. Ernesto Soberon Guzman, said that his delegation is pleased with the conversation. “Our main concern is to try to avoid that Cuban people that visit Guyana, use its territory as a transit in irregular migration…these people become victims of the trafficking of human beings, so in this regard we are very pleased with the conversation, with the results. I think that we share common goals in order to promote this regular, safe, orderly travel and, at the same time, to fight against irregular migration and against human trafficking,” he said.
The first engagement on the issue between the two countries took place in Havana, Cuba in 2016. The delegations are expected to meet again in another two years.