See full statement below:
The WPA roundly condemns the government of Guyana for deviously attempting to deport twenty-six Haitian nationals after they were granted landed status by the Immigration department. We recall that in the run up to the recent election, the PPP had made the spurious RACIST charge that the then government WAS were smuggling Haitians into Guyana for electoral purposes. It is against that backdrop that we view the current move as yet another attempt by the PPP to deny Haitians entry to Guyana for ethnic and political reasons.
The government’s excuse that Haitians are not entitled to the automatic six months stay in Guyana because Haiti is not a signatory to the CSME charter is wrong on two accounts. First, Haitians are our CARICOM Caribbean brothers and sisters who ought to be accorded the same human rights as other CARICOM citizens. Second, Haiti is a CARICOM member-state whose citizens are covered by the 2007 Heads of Government decision that grants hassle-free travel to citizens of all CARICOM countries. That decision is worth quoting here:
“AGREED that all CARICOM nationals should be entitled to an automatic stay of six months upon arrival in order to enhance their sense that they belong to, and can move in the Caribbean Community, subject to the rights of Member States to refuse undesirable persons entry and to prevent persons from becoming a charge on public funds.”
The government is yet to make the charge that the detained Haitians are “ undesirable persons” who are “a charge on the public funds.” WPA notes that the government is quick to single out Haitian nationals for special treatment. This is a part of a trend by some Caribbean governments which have treated Haitians coming into their countries as less than full human beings. We find this attitude by the Guyana government especially reprehensible given the fact that Guyanese have been treated similarly by some CARICOM governments. The PPP government must not be selective—if it is wrong for Guyanese, it is equally wrong for Haitians. WPA therefore calls for the immediate release of the Haitian nationals and urges the government to respect the human and civil rights of Caribbean citizens entering Guyana.
Finally, WPA wishes to point to the PPP’s hypocrisy as it relates to CARICOM. After lauding CARICOM for its role in helping to bring about regime change in Guyana during the recent election, that party now turns its back on the letter and spirit of the regional organization, WPA calls on all Guyanese regardless of political persuasion to raise their voices in condemnation of this latest government spitefulness.