Days after the Leader of the Parliamentary Opposition, Bharrat Jagdeo laid claims of government being involved in a human trafficking ring, his party is now seeking to attract the attention of the United Nations (UN).
Chief Whip of the Peoples Progressive Party /Civic (PPP/C), and Member of Parliament, Gail Teixeira, issued a letter to that effect.
The former Minister noted, “it is time for the international, including the relevant UN bodies and the IOM (International Organization for Migration), as well as the diplomatic community to pay closer attention to this development.”
Over the last few months, the PPP has repeatedly referred at various press conferences about information it has been receiving with regard to some 5,400 Haitian nationals being trafficked through Guyana.
At a press conference hosted at the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Jagdeo accused government ministers of being involved in the “ring”.
Teixeira noted today, that these nationals are “being met airside” when they land at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and escorted through the immigration process to waiting vehicles.”
The politician asserted that there is a “twist” since the information being received by the PPP indicates that in return for their “safe passage” through Guyana, the nationals are being provided with Guyanese identity documents such as birth certificates, national identity cards, with Guyanese names – which are then left in Guyana.
This is of great concern, the Chief Whip penned; noting that Local and Regional Elections are around the corner.
“If new identities are being created then why are these documents not being used by the Haitians for their onward movement? Why are these documents being kept with their handlers based in Guyana? For what purpose? Is this to be used to register new voters? And whose identities are they using? Persons who have died or who have emigrated whose names are already on the national registration database and the voters’ lists?” Teixeira quizzed.
At a parliamentary sectoral committee meeting some months ago, PPP/C MPs raised concerns with regards to the Haitian arrivals and trafficking. The Committee then sought information from the Minister of Citizenship, Minister Felix in February 2018, about the number of Haitians entering and departing Guyana.
Teixeira stated that the Minister in his response to the Committee on May 23, 2018, provided information on the arrival and departures of Haitians and seven other nationalities entering annually for the years 2013- 2018 (April).
(The following tables were provided by PPP/C Chief Whip, Gail Teixeira)
Table 1: For the years 2013-2015:-
|Nationality||Arrival 2013||Departures 2013||Arrival
Table 2: For the years 2016-2018 April:-
In total as of April 2018, according to the figures supplied, Table 3 shows the numbers who appear to have not left Guyana:-
|Nationality||Arrivals||Departures||In Guyana ?|
The PPP Parliamentarian is arguing that unlike what has been conveyed for years that Brazilians, Chinese, Indians and more recently, Venezuelans were flooding in and taking over, the truth is far different when one examines these figures for 2013-2015 and 2015-2018.
“However, we cannot find any evidence of the presence of such a large number of 5, 485 Haitians, nor of 17,615 Cubans, in Guyana. 23,000 people who speak different languages in a small population such as ours would be easily discernible.
Therefore something is going on. The most logical explanation is that Guyana is being used as a transhipment point for a large and well organized human trafficking ring, on a scale only possible with the collaboration of key officials within the government. Based on these figures, these victims of human trafficking, may not only include Haitians, but also other nationalities.”