After being in the Government’s “protective custody” for three weeks, 26 Haitian nationals including children were released on Wednesday night and dumped in front of the city hotel where some of them were staying before being held.
The owner of the Hotel was shocked by the appearance of the Haitian nationals at his hotel and said he would see what he can now do to accommodate them.
Just after 8:30pm, the Haitians were rounded up at the Hugo Chavez Centre in Berbice and told to get their belongings and board the two buses in the compound. At that moment, they were unaware that they were being released.
The buses brought them into the city just after 10:30 pm. According to one of the Haitians, they were given their passports as they were allowed to leave the buses close to the hotel where they had been staying prior to their detention. Some of them complained that their treatment was humiliating.
The Haitians arrived in Guyana back in November and were admitted to stay for six months.
However, the day after their arrival they were rounded up by the Police and taken to the government facility in Berbice where they remained until this evening.
Initially, the Government said the Haitians were being held in “protective custody” as they were suspected to be victims of human trafficking.
But when the Haitians denied that they were victims of human trafficking and voiced their displeasure over their detention, the government moved to the Magistrates’ Court and was granted deportation orders to remove the Haitians from Guyana.
Attorney Darren Wade, acting on behalf of the Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana moved to the High Court and was granted a hold on the deportation order as he argued that the order was unlawful.
The Government was called upon to defend its move.
A number of local and regional organizations had expressed concern over the detention of the Haitians.
Haitians have been traveling to Guyana to make their way to neighbouring Suriname and Brazil.