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Guyana clears the air on arrival of 150 Haitians

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 3, CMC – The Guyana government Monday categorically dismissed reports that more than 100 Haitian nationals had arrived here late last month seeking refugee status in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

CheddiMinister of Citizenship and Immigration, Winston Felix, told the on-line publication News Source, that the 150 Haitians who arrived here last Thursday are CARICOM citizens and should not be referred to as refugees.

“They came with all the required documents and they were admitted into Guyana as visitors and that’s it. I don’t know on what basis they can refer to them as refugees,” he told the on-line publication, adding that the Haitians were all granted legal stay in the country.

“In my view we do not have any refugees in Guyana or even arriving in Guyana,” he said of the Haitians who arrived here on a chartered flight.

Several CARICOM countries have imposed visa restrictions on Haiti even though the country is part of the 15-member regional integration movement that allows for the free movement of several categories of Caribbean people under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge told News Source that refugees are labelled by the United Nations.

“We can’t as representatives of the public or individuals decide that they are refugees. I am not aware that they are refugees,” he said, noting that even if the Haitians had arrived in Guyana without proper documentation, they still could not be classified as refugees.

“There is a process by which groups are designated refugees and an individual country cannot of its own volition just decide that they are refugees.”

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by STAFF WRITER

GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Apr 3, CMC – The Guyana government Monday categorically dismissed reports that more than 100 Haitian nationals had arrived here late last month seeking refugee status in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

CheddiMinister of Citizenship and Immigration, Winston Felix, told the on-line publication News Source, that the 150 Haitians who arrived here last Thursday are CARICOM citizens and should not be referred to as refugees.

“They came with all the required documents and they were admitted into Guyana as visitors and that’s it. I don’t know on what basis they can refer to them as refugees,” he told the on-line publication, adding that the Haitians were all granted legal stay in the country.

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“In my view we do not have any refugees in Guyana or even arriving in Guyana,” he said of the Haitians who arrived here on a chartered flight.

Several CARICOM countries have imposed visa restrictions on Haiti even though the country is part of the 15-member regional integration movement that allows for the free movement of several categories of Caribbean people under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Greenidge told News Source that refugees are labelled by the United Nations.

“We can’t as representatives of the public or individuals decide that they are refugees. I am not aware that they are refugees,” he said, noting that even if the Haitians had arrived in Guyana without proper documentation, they still could not be classified as refugees.

“There is a process by which groups are designated refugees and an individual country cannot of its own volition just decide that they are refugees.”