MIGRATION: Over 600 Cubans camp out at Suriname border to get to Guyana

Cubans camping out the Suriname border, hoping to enter Guyana

Kaieteur News – It has been brought to the attention of Kaieteur News that at least 600 Cubans have been camping out for days at the Suriname border waiting to enter Guyana.

According to a prominent Suriname media house, Waterkant, around 600 Cubans headed to Nickerie, on Monday, in large buses with hopes of crossing over to Guyana.

The Cubans, reported Waterkant, came from Paramaribo and had expected to travel on the same day, which they arrived but the border was closed.
Coincidentally, that was the same day the Guyana Government revealed that travel to Suriname, via the Moleson Creek Crossing, will be opened from December 12.

Kaieteur News too reported the following day that the Suriname ferry will be opened soon. The government’s move was part of its new COVID-19 measures for December, which included travel guidelines for Suriname. As a result, this newspaper was told, the Cubans decided to set up tents at South Drain, near the Canawaima Ferry connection. Videos seen by this media showed that the Cubans have been camping out, and expressing the hope that they will be allowed to board the ferry.

Interviewed by a reporter, some of them stated that the situation in their country is terrible so they don’t want to go back there. Others who have been living in Paramaribo for some years said they too are running from Suriname because of its current economic situation.

They were further questioned about their reasons for wanting to enter Guyana. The Cubans said that the intend to use Guyana as a transit point to the United States (US).

“We get opportunity to go to United States, we only need to go to Guyana, Brazil, Colombia Nicaragua and then United States,” said one of the Cubans.
“Only please, we need to go to Guyana right away,” he continued.

Another Cuban said, “We will not stay in no country, we only want to go to United States”.

As the Cubans continue their campout, it is unclear whether the Guyana government will allow them to enter. Nevertheless, Guyanese voiced their opinions on social media. Many of them are against the Cubans entering the country because of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Others expressed concerns about trafficking and asked questions about who will monitor them if they do enter and where will they be housed.

It was only on Thursday that Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs ordered the deportation of 26 Haitians who had entered the country legally but were subsequently detained by police in early November for giving false addresses. The Haitians were reportedly found in a city hotel with children in the mix. Some were also found in a minibus en route to Linden.

The Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana, through attorney-at-law Darren Wade, filed a motion in the High Court for the Haitians to be put before the courts, and yesterday Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire placed a stay on the deportation order until the hearing of the motion filed by Wade.

Honourable Robeson Benn, Minister of Home Affairs had also touted during a recent press conference that Guyana may introduce visa system for Haiti Soon. According to Benn when Haitians enter the country, they usually disappear without any trace. He added that it is for this reason, the batch of 26 were under strict surveillance which led to them being arrested.

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  • guyaneseonline  On 12/06/2020 at 2:56 pm

    Guyana gov’t must urgently clarify status of the 26 Haitians
    By Stabroek News On December 2, 2020 @ 2:04 am In Letters to the Editor |

    We the undersigned call on the Government of Guyana to urgently clarify the status of the 26 Haitian women, children and men who reportedly entered Guyana legally from Barbados in early November and were granted up to six months’ stay in the country by Immigration. According to media reports, they were taken into custody the very next day, and are described as being either in ‘protective custody’ or ‘detained’, with ‘the Government claiming that they might be victims of human trafficking,’ and that they might be sent back to Haiti.

    uyana’s law on trafficking in Persons and the Palermo Protocol to which Guyana adheres is very clear that trafficking in persons is an offence against the victim/survivor of trafficking; in other words they should never be detained or charged for being a victim or survivor of trafficking as to do so would be a case of re-victimization and a violation of Guyanese and international law. We note that the Haitians currently in custody have reportedly insisted that they were not victims of trafficking, and that they have not broken any laws.

    We note that in January 2019, an Executive Order amended the Immigration Act to include Haiti under the schedule of countries that benefit from 6 months visa free stay in Guyana.

    We call on the Government of Guyana to clarify whether, as the media reports, the Haitians currently in ‘protective custody’ entered the country legally under the freedom of movement provisions of Caricom’s Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. If they did, and have the six-month stamp in their passport, then by detaining them and removing them from Guyana, the Government is violating its treaty obligations under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, as stipulated by the 2013 ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the case brought by Jamaican national Shanique Myrie against the Government of Barbados. In that landmark decision, the CCJ ruled that Caricom nationals have the right to enter any Member State and stay there for up to six months, “subject to the rights of Member States to refuse undesirable persons entry and to prevent persons from becoming a charge on public funds.” Subsequent misconduct – such as breaching the terms of the entry permit or working without a permit – may render someone who enters lawfully liable to deportation. However, any purported reason for removal must be provided for by law and the process of doing so should adhere to the standard requirements of due process, including access to the courts.

    The CCJ decision also “requires Member States promptly and in writing to inform a Community national refused entry not only of the reasons for the refusal but also of his or her right to challenge that decision.” This includes recognition of the legal entitlement of community nationals “to consult an attorney or a consular official of their country, if available, or in any event to contact a family member.”

    If the Haitian children, women and men currently detained have a six-month stamp in their passport, as the press has reported, then it means that the Immigration department had the opportunity to invoke the circumstances discussed in the Myrie case to refuse entry but saw no reason to take such action. And from the reports, they have been detained for some three weeks so far. Have they been charged? Is this not a violation according to our Constitution, in that someone – in this case, 26 Haitian children, women and men – cannot be held for more than 72 hours unless brought before a court to be charged?

    We wish to register our special concern for the Haitian children who have been separated from their adult compatriots. These children are undoubtedly being traumatized by this action as they are unable to communicate their needs and feelings effectively in English. Reuniting these children with their parents or guardians should be the utmost priority.

    This distressing situation that has been reported on in the media, has prompted this request for the Government of Guyana to provide urgent clarification.

    Those of us who are Guyanese can well remember the discrimination and harassment that up to very recently many of our fellow Guyanese endured at airports around the region. We of all people should be sensitive to the negative stereotyping of Guyanese as cheats, as criminals and as unwanted burdens who would drag down other countries. As such we should be doubly sensitive to not impose similar stereotyping of our fellow sisters and brothers of Haitian origin, to whose forebears we owe a mighty debt of revolutionary inspiration. Our foreign policy must not only favour the rich and powerful but must also be humane and non-discriminatory as regards ethnicity, geography, social status and genders. We are each other’s keepers and should treat others the way we would like to be treated.
    Signed by list:

  • Dennis Albert  On 12/06/2020 at 6:30 pm

    The PPP is really gaslighting when they allege that the 26 Haitians are victims of human trafficking, yet the 26 Haitians are treated like caged animals.

    The conditions are atrocious. It’s not like the Haitians are being detained inside a 12-storey Raddisson hotel or Pegasus suite ; it’s like a large cage that would be considered inhumane.

    It’s ironic because the same PPP who is sending the Haitians to concentration camps came in droves to British Guiana barefoot and illiterate.

    • the only  On 12/07/2020 at 1:36 pm

      How do you know that it is the PPP that is doing this.

      • Dennis Albert  On 12/07/2020 at 10:58 pm

        You really think people stupid? The PPP used the ABCEU countries to overthrow Granger and the cocaine start exporting itself to Germany and Belgium?

  • Dennis Albert  On 12/07/2020 at 10:57 pm

    • the only  On 12/07/2020 at 11:12 pm

      Thanks for the info, you are such a nice comrade.

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