Guyana Government Denies Ill-treatment of Haitians

Haitians outside the hotel on Wednesday night

The Guyana government has denied “dumping” Haitian nationals on the streets of the capital earlier this week, insisting that they had been given an option to remain at a government-approved facility or “ to be released at an address of their choice”.

Last week, Acting Chief Justice, Roxane George, granted a stay of deportation Order made in relation to 26 Haitians, including several nine women and seven children, until the High Court decides on the constitutionality of the detention of the Haitians and their planned removal from Guyana.

Principal Magistrate, Sherdel-Isaacs-Marcus, at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court, had issued the order for the Haitians to be taken to the nearest port of exit on the grounds that they violated Guyana’s immigration laws.

But a Habeas Corpus was filed in the High Court last week by President of the Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana, Kesnel Toussaint, arguing that the Haitians were being subject to “inhumane treatment and unsanitary conditions”.

But on Wednesday night, media reports said the Haitians who were in “protective custody” were dumped in front of the city hotel where some of them were staying before being held.

“The owner of the Hotel was shocked by the appearance of the Haitian nationals at his hotel and said he would see what he can now do to accommodate them,” one media house reported.

“The buses brought them into the city just after 10:30 pm. According to one of the Haitians, they were given their passports as they were allowed to leave the buses close to the hotel where they had been staying prior to their detention. Some of them complained that their treatment was humiliating,” the report noted.

But in its statement, the government said that the Haitians were being accommodated at the Hugo Chavez Rehabilitation and Reintegration Centre and that “it must be emphasised that this is not a detention centre.

“This centre is properly staffed, resourced and its guests are adequately fed and supervised. The facility is secured and the conditions hygienic.

“However, since it cannot be determined when the legal proceedings will be concluded, the Haitians were offered either to remain at the facility or to be released at an address of their choice. They chose the latter. After their meals, last evening, they were dropped off at the address requested. Their valuables and passports were delivered to them.”

The government said that ir wanted to “reject the wild and reckless allegations that are circulating on this matter and implore that politicians and others, cease exploiting and sensationalizing this matter in the advancement of selfish agendas”.

CMC/gt/ir/2020

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