Minister of Citizenship, Winston Felix, today assured that despite the “hysteria” created in some sections of the media and by political elements on the number of Haitians visiting Guyana, no Haitian national has been found to be involved in trafficking in persons or people smuggling, as a victim or as a perpetrator.
Speaking at the weekly press conference of the People’s National Congress Reform, Mr. Felix reiterated that while other nationals have found to be involved in trafficking in persons in Guyana, none of the investigating law enforcement agencies have found any evidence of Haitians being involved.
“The Government agencies, like the Police and the Narcotics Unit, are always on the lookout to detect trafficking in persons or smuggling, we have not detected Haitians. We have detected other nationalities. We have found Venezuelans, those from the Dominican Republic and the majority being Guyanese. We have found those and we have published those, but no Haitian has been found. So, the hysteria with which this matter is being dealt with is one I suspect to be aimed at tarnishing the government”, Felix said.
The Opposition, People’s Progressive Party and some sections of the society have raised a concern about the increase in Haitian nationals coming to Guyana.
The Government has reminded that Haitian nationals do not require a visa to come to Guyana and like other CARICOM nationals, they would be allowed up to six months’ duration of stay in Guyana.
The Citizenship Department has found that the majority of the Haitians only use Guyana as an in-transit point to move on to Brazil, French Guiana and other parts of South America, where most of their relatives live.
Felix today defended the Government’s record on tackling trafficking in persons, pointing out that the APNU+AFC government has filed more charges and has had greater successes with combating trafficking in persons in its four years in government that the former PPP Civic government had in 23 years.