Sunday, September 24, 2006

Guyana-Barbados Immigration row

Barbados catch Guyana off guard with a vicious bouncer. Now the local immigation authorites are unsettled and jumpy.

We just want to add our bit to the ongoing, never ending debate. The fact remains that Guyana's economy continues to force many to flee by what ever means necessary.

If you don't believe, there is a film that was recetly given the red carpet treatment right here in Georgetown. It was a grand opening at the Strand.

But many of the movie critics failed to depict one of the central themes in Rainbow Raani.

The film apart from its romatic scenes, shows just how desperate Guyanese are to taste the big apple, the city of New York.

Its sad, but as President Bharrat Jagdeo pointed out after the deportation of some 35 Guyanese from Barbados (again), it is Guyanese who are creating the impression that they are begging to enter foreign countries. And he is right. This does not mean that Guyanese must be treated with scant regard. Even ET was welcomed on a foreign planet. Why must Guyanese be treated as refugees?

The President and his men must know by now that peace and diplomacy is just a metaphoric phrase (Just ask the U.S. what they said to the Pakistani President behind closed doors after 9/11) and definitive action is what needs to be taken. Forget the silly notion of free movement and that foolish Caribbean Single Market.

The President must give instructions for Immigration Officers at the Cheddie Jagan International Airport (CJIA) to turn back a few Bajans and see how they like it.

Was there ever an apology from Barbados about the treatment dished out to those 35 Guyanese who travelling to be part of Crop Over, but who only stayed over until the next available flight to Guyana after they had landed?

Instead of an apology, the Barbados authrorties are now seeking to weaken the morale of the Immigration authorities here by stating that they are involved in the issuance of bogus travel documents and play part in a scam that see Guyanese deported from Barbados returning with documents bearing different names.

And the Guyanese as usual are very defensive...This is what they had to say as the Barbados-Guyana Immigration row flares-up again...

"The Guyana Police Force is concerned over statements attributed to the Barbadian Chief Immigration Officer in relation to Guyanese nationals travelling to Barbados , being found in possession of illegal passports, especially at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

It is unfortunate that the Barbadian Chief Immigration Officer was unable to provide us with some specifics. However, the Deputy Chief Immigration Officer, Senior Superintendent George Vyphuis, will be making contact with him to obtain further information on the issue.

There is enough evidence to support the fact that many Guyanese nationals attempting to get to foreign countries through the backtrack, leave Guyana with bona fide travel documents, but use false documents obtained from the backtracking source on arrival in the intended country. In most cases the false documents are not Guyanese passports.

Between January 2005 and September 20, 2006 a total of 337 persons were sent back to Guyana . Of this number 24 were for being in possession of false documents. Two (2) persons were deported twice during this period having been found with false documents in Barbados .

Of the 24 stated, fourteen (14) persons had left the Guyana legally with proper Guyanese travel documents, but presented false documents of other countries on arrival in Barbados . Five (5) travelled on false ICTDs while four (4) travelled on false passports, two of which were stolen from the Immigration Office. The other deportee left illegally by boat without any travel document.

For the period reviewed, a total of thirty eight (38) persons were caught by Immigration Officers at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport attempting to leave the country using false travel documents. They were all charged and placed before the courts."