The President of the Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana has moved to the Court over the ongoing detention of 26 Haitian nationals who recently arrived in Guyana and were granted a six-month stay.
One day after their arrival, the Haitians were taken into custody. The Ministry of Home Affairs said it was “protective custody” as they were suspected to be victims of human trafficking.
But in a number of phone videos released by the Haitians, they made it clear that they are not and were never victims of human trafficking and entered Guyana legally through the Ogle International Airport where they were granted up to six months stay by the Immigration Department.
With the Haitians in custody for more than two weeks, the Association that represents the interest of Haitians in Guyana wants the Government to produce the Haitians. Through Attorney Darren Wade, the Association has filed a habeas corpus motion.
The matter came up in Court today and Pritima Kissoon of the Attorney General’s Chambers told the Court that the Haitians were being held for deportation.
When she was questioned by the Judge whether the Haitians were indeed granted a six-month stay when they arrived in the country and whether they were taken before any Magistrate for violating any law, Attorney Kissoon said she would have to seek information on that issue.
Attorney Wade informed the Court that the Haitians were granted legal entry into the country, broke no laws and were never taken before any Magistrate. He said any move to deport the Haitians without due process would be a violation of the law and could have severe consequences.
Attorney Wade also told the Court that the Haitians who are in custody have been denied their right to meet with their Attorneys.
The Government has been given four days to respond to the application by the President of the Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana.