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GOB Disallows Flights from Haiti to Land in Belize to Control Human Smuggling

Human smuggling remains an issue for Belize. Just recently, a BDF soldier was detained after being caught transporting about a dozen undocumented migrants from Ecuador. And over the past few months, several groups of migrants have been caught in the country as they try to make their way to Mexico and later to the USA. Today, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Eamon Courtenay informed the media that Haitians are reportedly using Belize to get to North America. The situation has gotten so dire that the government has decided to disallow chartered flights emerging from Haiti to land in Belize. Minister Courtenay explained. 

Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs: “A year ago, I took to Cabinet a paper asking to allow haitians to come to Belize without visas because that is required under the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. We were in breach. That has been approved. Without going into the details, there are a significant number of Haitians who are all of a sudden coming to Belize – one way ticket, no hotel reservation, but they say they are tourists. I can send you an article from Yahoo News yesterday that explained the corrupt and abusive mafia that is using charter flights out of Haiti to smuggle Haitians. We have taken a decision this week, and I informed Cabinet yesterday, that we have requests, over the next six months, six weeks, for a number of flights to come, charter Haiti – Belize. In collaboration with Civil Aviation, we are not going to allow them to land and if we have to reverse the provision of Haitians coming to Belize without a visa, we are going to do so. Why? Because these people are abused by smugglers. They are trafficked by smugglers and we will not allow it to happen through Belize as long as we can step in.”