Regional Immigration Authorities should use CWC 2007 to address Guyana/B'dos issue – Rohee

Kaieteur News
January 3, 2007

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Regional Immigration Authorities in various countries are conducting meetings to discuss issues that relate to immigration for Cricket World Cup 2007.

Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee said the authorities should use this opportunity to address the issue that exists with Guyana and Barbados .

“ I hope that they will take advantage of these meetings not only to discuss CWC but bilateral issues especially the Guyana/Barbados problem in respect to Guyanese travelling to Barbados and having the right to enter that country once their documents are in order,” Minister Rohee said.

In September 2006 Barbadian Chief Immigration Officer, Gilbert Greaves, claimed that a significant number of Guyanese seeking to enter the island were caught with forged passports.

Greaves said the issue has over the years been a nightmare for his department and called on the Local Immigration Authority to find a solution for the problem since it was clear that there are loopholes occurring in Guyana .

The Guyana Police Force (GPF), in a subsequent release, said it was unfortunate that Greaves made such a claim, since he was unable to provide Guyanese authorities with specifics in relation to his statement.

Local immigration officials, after examining systems currently being used, said that in the majority of cases, the false passports produced by persons deported from Barbados were not obtained through the Immigration Department, but were provided by persons operating ‘backtrack rings'.

A number of Immigration Officers have also been charged and several transferred from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport Timehri, and the Immigration Department, due to their alleged involvement in facilitating illegal immigration activities.

Greaves and Guyana 's Deputy Chief Immigration Officer George Vyphius are currently engage in talks relating to the issue.

“As far as I am aware the authorities in respective countries have been in touch with each other. I have not been brief on what has transpired,” Minister Rohee said.

The issue of illegal migration is an international problem and involves nationals from various countries accessing other countries illegally.

The local immigration department has been making strenuous efforts to deal with the issue of false documents.

On December 8 Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee and Canadian Bank Note Company (CBN) Vice-President Simon Wall inked the final agreement for the production of the passports which will be done through a computerised system.

Government is introducing the machine-readable passports to protect against multiple issuance of the travel document to persons under fraudulent identities by maintaining and checking all passport applications against a database of biometric information for all passport holders.

The passport has a new attractive design featuring Guyana 's flora and fauna, highly secure with tamper resistant intaglio and lithographic security printing.

The new passport system which has already been supplied to several Caricom countries will also assist in the fight against terrorism, immigrant smuggling, and trafficking in persons.