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More Guyanese claim harassment at Barbados airport

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July 21 Georgetown: A batch of Guyanese, who travelled to Barbados on Tuesday, said they were deported with little or no reason given by Barbadian authorities. Some of the deportees, who had travelled for holiday or other reasons, have made verbal reports to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and they have been asked to provide written statements.

The deportations are described as a continuation a trend extending over many years where Barbadian immigration officials have treated Guyanese visitors crudely and arbitrarily where many statements have been made by Guyana Government officials about this to no avail.

In Barbados, relatives of some of the deportees have reportedly lodged complaints with Guyana's Honorary Consul. 

Eighteen Guyanese were taken to the tarmac and escorted to a waiting BWIA aircraft on Tueday.

Rahim Bacchus who is an attorney-at-law, lecturer at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, newspaper columnist and legal adviser to the Guyana Honorary Consul in Barbados in xpressing disgust over the incident, he said he was aware that the issue of harassment of Guyanese travelling to Barbados was raised with the Barbadian authorities at the level of the Guyana Government, but the Barbadian government's response appeared to only be "persistent and consistent lip service to Caricom and the CSME [Caribbean Single Market and Economy]."

Noting that year after year, a number of law-abiding Guyanese were turned back from the port-of-entry, he said that if Barbados did not want Guyanese visiting the island then it should institute a visa system for Guyanese.

On the other hand, he said it was known in Barbados that there were Guyanese who paid Barbadian immigration officers in cash or kind to gain entry to engage in prostitution and other illegal activities.

President Bharrat Jagdeo has spoken out at several Caricom fora about the harassment of Guyanese travelling to Barbados and has also discussed the issue with Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur. A course of action on how Barbadian immigration officials should treat Guyanese had been suggested and Guyanese immigration officers were to be stationed at Grantley Adams' Airport. However, Guyanese are still continually harassed.

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