I don’t believe the excuses used to impose visa requirement for Haitians

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I don’t believe a word of Robeson Benn’s statement that within the last three years more than 30,000 Haitians who travelled to Guyana cannot be accounted for. Neither do I believe the reason the Irfaan Ali regime is instituting entry visa requirements for Haitians is because there is some widespread human smuggling ring and Guyana is being used as a port of entry and exit.

Let them provide the evidence to this nation to support their claim.  They must do much more than accuse; they must prove. The new band in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) leadership is known to be strangers to the truth and revel in the tendency to accuse and not put the mechanism in place to prove. The upper echelons in society would describe such behavioural tendency as pathological lying. The man in the street would say they are damn liars.

If there ever was Human Trafficking, at the level the regime is cliaming and now using as an excuse to impose visa restriction on our Haitian brothers and sister, Interpol would have already caught on to this. Whereas the Guyana Police Force could stand accused of laxity in law enforcement, given a number of limitations, the Interpol which is an international policing body operates at more sophisticated levels.

They want us to believe 30,000 plus Haitians arrived here and cannot be accounted for and represent the majority that have arrived. When Guyanese travel to the United States and receive a six-month visa by the Immigration Officer and have not left at the end of that entry requirement, should we, by their ‘logic,’ say those who have overstayed are part of a human trafficking ring?  When Guyanese enter fellow CARICOM countries without visa requirements and some do not leave, should we, by Ali regime’s ‘logic,’ accuse those countries of allowing Trafficking in Person? This is the illogic they are seeking to sell us to front their mistreatment of our Haitian brothers and sisters.

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The Human Trafficking argument is nonsense. In the 2020 International Report on Human Trafficking, Guyana ranks as Tier One. Tier One means that the country embraces the highest standard to avoid human trafficking. Their justification is being exposed for what it is- A Deception.   These people don’t care if they have to sully the image of Guyana just to keep some people out or what they consider ‘in their place.” The claim that they will make a report to Interpol is a farce.

I could put my pot on the fire, and argue with conviction, that were Haitians of different hue and physical appearance there would have been welcomed. Clearly, it cannot be a language issue because the Venezuelans, Brazilians and Cubans who are flocking here should have the same visa requirement. Haiti is a multilingual society. Many could speak French, Creole, English, Spanish and the dialect of their unique locale.

Another concern is the enlistment of persons, including the media, to peddle the deception. I have read in this same newspaper Ambassador Ron Sanders arguing that the visa requirement is necessary to stem human trafficking and is also imposed by three CARICOM countries. The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has 15 full members and five associate members. Three out of 20 is being used as an excuse to front the deception and xenophobic campaign.

Let me remind Sanders, and those who may not remember or don’t know, of Barbados during the David Thompson administration when that country was seeking to enforce its Immigration laws and comply with the Free Movement of People under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). The PPP/C accused Thompson of engaging in xenophobia and his government’s action a threat to CARICOM integration. The accusation was made because the PPP and their cohorts felt East Indian Guyanese would have been most affected. Sanders may recall the role he played back then.

It appears some are prepared to facilitate unequal treatment, under the law and CSME protocols, depending on who is likely to be affected. Haiti is a member of CARICOM. Haitians deserve equal protection and respect under the protocols and the vision of regional integration as established by the Founding Fathers- Prime Minister Forbes Burnham (Guyana), Prime Minister Errol Barrow (Barbados), Prime Minister Michael Manley (Jamaica), and Prime Minister Eric Williams (Trinidad and Tobago).

Haiti is presently going through a crisis like Venezuela. We are allowing Venezuelans visa free entry and have set up camps to accommodate those who are fleeing, but the PPP is requiring visas for Haitians. Only cruel and xenophobic minds would have different standards, on the same issue, for different people. I don’t believe a word of the excuses the Ali regime is using. Let them counter the evidence I have today placed in the public domain.



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