Number of Haitians Entering Belize Increases
Another immigration topic that Minister Eamon Courtenay addressed is that related to the Haitian nationals. There has been an increase of Haitian nationals legally entering the country but there are no records of them legally exiting Belize. The suspicion is that they are heading further north, to the USA, illegally. It’s something that the Immigration Department is aware of and Minister Courtenay says that it is something that will be addressed.
Eamon Courtenay ,Minister of Immigration: “Last week Friday 60% of the passengers arriving in Belize from south, by that I mean Panama on Copa, Salvador on Tropic, 60% of them were Haitians. We have no evidence of any of those Haitians coming in and applying for work permit, special permit, permanent residence or anything. The number of them leaving by official points of exit is less than 10%. So the question is are they here are have they left? We are actively reviewing the question of whether – well what measures we’re going to put in place to stem the flow of Haitians into Belize. We have to be careful we have treaty obligations but I am satisfied from the evidence that I have seen that there is a elaborate international network that are smuggling Haitians through Belize and we intend to as best we can to stop that. So that is something we’re going to discuss with the Haitians at the CARICOM heads in the middle of February. It needs to be addressed.”