APPROXIMATELY 20 Guyanese returned here on Tuesday after being deported by the United States Government following various periods of incarceration for a range of criminal offences.
The men, returned on a chartered flight, were handed over to Guyanese immigration authorities by US law enforcement officers. The deportees landed at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport at about 15:30h. Guyana Chronicle was told that the men served time in US prisons for offences such as rape, murder, possession of firearms, fraud, drug trafficking and robbery.
Local police told the media that the deportees were all interviewed at the Criminal Investigation Department before being released to their Guyanese relatives. Over the past five years, there have been fewer deportees from the United States. According to statistics by the US Homeland Security Department, between 2008 and 2013, a total of 1035 persons were deported here, 803 of whom were non-criminals. The department also stated that there has been a decreasing trend from 2008 to 2013 in the number of persons who were deported from the US back to Guyana. Statistics on the US agency’s website show that in 2008 some 508 persons were sent back, while 492 were deported in 2009. The following year saw 428 Guyanese returning, and 411 in 2011. Approximately 360 persons returned home in 2012, and another 292 the following year.
Police here have at their disposal the Amendment to the Crime Prevention Act of 2002, which gives them the power to monitor any deportee who poses a threat to public safety. The law also states that all involuntary remigrants will not be considered first offenders.
Only recently, President David Granger told reporters that this country does not have the capability to handle deportees from the United States of America (USA). He told journalists during a ‘The Public Interest’ programme that his government needs to work with the US to ensure that measures are put in place to make Guyana better prepared to handle those who are deported, especially if they are convicted of crimes in the US. “We just want to be better prepared, it’s something that the Ministry of Public Security is aware of and we will have to make sure that we put measures in place to ensure that those persons, those deportees do not perpetuate crimes when they get back here,” the Head of State said.
According to the President, the US needs to notify Guyana whenever it decides to deport Guyanese who committed crimes in that country. “We need to work with the United States Government so that persons who might have been involved in violent crimes, you know, crimes of murder or narco-trafficking or people trafficking, are notified to us so we can build in Guyana the resources to manage them when they come back here. We don’t have the capability, as you know, there are still some degree of narcotics trafficking in Guyana, we have executions, murders and we don’t want to have people coming back here, who contribute to that form of criminality. So it is something that we can work out with the United States.” He said it is within the jurisdiction of a sovereign state to expel illegal aliens. President Granger reiterated that no country tolerates illegality and if there are abuses, it is quite within the rights of a sovereign state to minimize the impact of those abuses to the host country.