Opposition APNU+AFC Member of Parliament David Patterson was blocked from leaving Guyana for a meeting with US Congressmen, as Immigration Officers at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport claimed that there was a note in their system that prevented him from leaving the country.
Patterson’s Attorney, Nigel Hughes said when he was contacted by the Opposition MP and told about the situation at the airport, he asked the Immigration Officers to make contact with their superiors. Mr. Hughes said the officers later informed him that they could not reach the Chief Immigration Officer who is acting Police Commissioner Clifton Hicken, nor the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer.
Patterson, who was recently charged for indecent exposure after he was allegedly spotted urinating near a fence, was cleared by a Magistrate to travel for business and professional reasons.He now intends to file a lawsuit against the state for illegally obstructing his travel.
Acting Police Commissioner and Chief Immigration Officer, Clifton Hicken could not be reached by News Source for a comment. Repeated calls to his number went unanswered.
However, he was quoted by Demerara Waves as saying that the Opposition MP’s name had been mistakenly left on a no-fly list and it has now been removed. The APNU and AFC have both roasted the government over the immigration department’s obstruction of Mr. Patterson’s travel.
In a statement, APNU Member of Parliament, Senior Counsel Roysdale Forde said the move was an unconstitutional act by the government and a breach of Mr. Patterson’s freedom of movement. He said he is convinced that the move was orchestrated by the Government to disrupt the Opposition delegation’s participation in the meeting with the US Congressional representatives and their meetings at a special conference on Guyana.
The Alliance For Change in its own statement said the act of preventing the free movement of a citizen is illegal, unconstitutional, and downright barbaric, and has no place in a modern and democratic society. According to the AFC, the governing PPP “is showing even to an invited guest of the US Congress, and to all citizens, that it alone sets the agenda, and decides who gets to go to what meetings, and who does what.”
Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton is leading the Opposition delegation to Washington on the invitation of the US Congress minority leader, Congressman Hackeem Jeffries and the Congressional Black Caucus. The meeting was announced by the top US Congressman last week just after a meeting he hosted with President Irfaan Ali and a Government team in Washington.