Over 17,000 Cubans and 5000 Haitians who entered Guyana between 2013 and April 2018 are unaccounted for, according to an official correspondence from Minister of Citizenship Winston Felix.
The revelation has prompted the Parliamentary Opposition to call on the Government to launch a serious investigation into the possibility of human trafficking.
Felix wrote the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Affairs back in April when questions were raised over the number of Haitians visiting Guyana.
In his letter, the Minister also took the liberty to also point to other non nationals arriving in Guyana and in turn revealed the worrisome figures.
In the case of the Haitians, the figures spiked in 2017 and 2018 with 3515 arriving and 291 departing through legal ports and 1238 arriving and 85 departing, respectively.
Meanwhile, 44,000 Cubans arrived in Guyana in 2017 but only 37,000 left through legal ports.
Chairperson for the Committee, Opposition Chief Whip Gail Teixeira said she was deeply concerned with not only the figures but the emerging trend.
She was met with Opposition during the Wednesday afternoon meeting at Parliament by Education Minister Nicolette Henry.
Henry said the Committee should not single out any group of persons but should address the matter holistically.
This made way for the Chair and all other members to agree on inviting Minister Felix to appear before the Committee.
“This is trafficking”, Teixeira exclaimed while doubting that these large numbers of distinct Haitian and Cuban Nationals were here.
“Something is wrong if these persons who are so distinct cannot be found.”
The Chair said she believes the government should launch a serious probe into the possibility that some of these persons might be subject to human trafficking.
According to the figures, between 2013 and April 2018, there were also Brazilians and nationals from Bangladesh who arrived in Guyana but have not officially departed.
Minister Henry said she is not worried about any group of persons in particular, but is concerned with all non-nationals arriving in Guyana with no records of departure.
She has supported the decision to invite the Minister of Citizenship to offer more clarity on the numbers out forward. (by Kurt Campbell)