“The basis for their continued detention remains unclear as the Government of Guyana has been unable to proffer a single credible reason for this action. Statements in the local media attributed to the Minister of Home Affairs, suggests that our Haitian brothers and sisters were either perpetrators or victims of human trafficking. We have seen no evidence in this regard, but we are aware that five persons who were arrested by local authorities in connection with this matter, were released without charge,” Harmon told the CARICOM Chairman.
He made reference to a “Deportation Order on December 1, which will see the twenty -six men, women and children being deported shortly.” However, Guyana's Chief Justice Roxane George-Wiltshire on Thursday evening suspended their deportation, until the High Court decides on the constitutionality of their arrest and planned removal from Guyana.
“These CARICOM Nationals are being detained in what appears to be inhumane conditions and have been denied the opportunity to retain legal representation. We, like other nationals of the Caribbean Community have watched in dismay at the treatment being meted out to our CARICOM brethren, while noting that the Ali Administration has not engaged with nationals from neighbouring Brazil and Venezuela as well as Cuba, in so heinous a manner,” The Opposition Leader said.
Harmon observed “with much distress, the conspicuous absence of CARICOM from the public discourse….as this matter challenges the foundational tenets of regional integration.”
In light of this the Guyana Opposition Leader invited Dr. Gonsalves as CARICOM Chairman to declare the regional organization’s “position on this matter, as it is one which if left unaddressed, could establish a precedent that is inimical to the free movement of CARICOM Nationals within the Community.”
In the meantime, Guyana’s Attorney General Anil Nandlall is of the position that Haitian nationals are not covered under the CARICOM Treaty.
According to Nandlall, the application of the Fundamental Rights provisions of Guyana’s constitution applies only applies to citizens of Guyana and other Commonwealth member states as well as other persons who are listed under Article 47.
The Guyana Attorney General said “These persons are aliens under the constitutions,” as Haiti has not signed onto the free movement aspect of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME), and the court has no jurisdiction to hear the application.
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