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– as COVID-19 cases continue to climb
Residents of Region Six, East Berbice Corentyne are fearful of the continued illegal entry of foreign nationals through the backtrack operation from neighbouring Suriname, even as COVID-19 cases are rising significantly in that country.
Just days ago, ranks in Berbice were tipped off of two illegal operations along the Corentyne Coast, however, the police successfully apprehended nine Cuban nationals at the Berbice bridge checkpoint who were headed to Georgetown in a minibus that initially picked the nationals up from a location on the Corentyne after being dropped off by a boat.
Shortly after, two other Cubans were arrested within the vicinity of the #63 Beach following their illegal entry into Guyana via the backtrack route. They were taken into custody and subsequently placed in quarantine where they were expected to undergo COVID-19 tests.
The bus bearing number plate BSS 8772 that was transporting the nine foreign nationals was operated by two Guyanese. Upon their arrival at the checkpoint the Cuban nationals indicated to the police that they were on a missionary project to assist frontline workers and distribute hampers to persons in need while at the same time spread the gospel.
They were asked to provide to the officers their identification cards, but could not produce any legal documents at that point. Divisional Commander, Calvin Brutus noted that even though there is heavy surveillance on the borders, boat operators are finding new routes to dispatch persons along the Corentyne coast. This however, is the main concern for residents on the Corentyne and in Berbice generally.
Brutus, said serious penalties are awaiting those who are caught smuggling persons into the country. Prior to this arrest, a number of Cuban Nationals were arrested by ranks in Berbice five of whom are among the 13 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Berbice currently. Reports are that boat operators on the Corentyne who are Guyanese continue to disregard the guidelines and border restrictions and are bringing persons into the country at different locations where there are no patrols. “We can’t have the entire force be placed on the borders to watch these boat operators and their movements, but as a Guyanese they should realize that they are putting themselves, families and other residents at risk, said Brutus.”