“Incredible” is the word President David Granger has used to described opposition-levelled allegations that Haitians are being smuggled into the country to be registered voters. He said that foreign nationals are not going to be involved in influencing the impending elections.
“My understanding is that they [Haitians] are not going to be involved in influencing the elections in Guyana, nor will the Cubans, nor will the Venezuelans,” President Granger said.
The Head of State made this comment this morning when he met with the media to provide a brief on what transpired during his meeting with top Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) officials.
The president’s comment comes in the wake of allegations that the government is involved in “people smuggling”, levelled against the administration by Leader of the Opposition Bharrat Jagdeo. He contends that the Granger-led administration is bringing thousands of Haitians into Guyana as part of a larger plot to flood the electoral list with government-desired voters.
The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) Leader, however, said that these allegations have no credibility, as he relied on comments made earlier by the Minister of Citizenship, and Former Commissioner of Police, Winston Felix.
“That [allegation] is incredible! Opposition leaders tend to oppose. But there is no credibility. The Minister of Citizenship has stated quite clearly what his interpretation is. It seems from the analyses which [were] made available to the government that many Haitians are heading for a third destination [and] that they are not interested in staying here and they may want to go to a third country. Again, these are all allegations but as far as we’re concerned, we want to protect the sovereignty and integrity of Guyana. We don’t want to be used as a conduit for illegal migration,” The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces said.
He noted that there is already a concern in dealing with the Venezuela migrants. These immigrants have been arriving in Guyana through legal and illegal means as they flee the economic crisis that neighbouring Venezuela is experiencing. He also alluded to the apparent singling out of Haitians.
“We already have thousands of Venezuelan migrants in the country [and] we’re concerned about that. We know of the influx of Cubans but suddenly there seems to be a great concern about the influx of Haitians,” He said.
According to statistics from the Parliamentary Sectoral Committee on Foreign Affairs on Haitian arrival and departures, some 188 Haitians came to Guyana in 2013, with 99 leaving the jurisdiction. In 2014, 227 came and 113 returned to their country. For 2015, some 770 Haitians came and 136 left, and at the end of April last year, 1,238 Haitians arrived in Guyana, with only 85 departing the country.
Minister Felix earlier this week reported that from January 2019 to July 30, 2019, there were 45,944 arrivals of Americans; 2,980 arrivals of Barbadians; 5,048 arrivals of Brazilians; 2,548 of British nationals; 12,259 arrivals of Canadians; 1,995 arrivals of Chinese; 41,272 arrivals of Cubans; 679 arrivals of Indians; 2,900 arrival of Surinamese; and 11,119 arrival of Trinidadians. During that period also, the minister said, some 8,476 Haitians arrived in Guyana and 1,170 departed the country, while 48 were refused leave on landing.