Illegal Guyanese Immigrants to Exodus T&T in Guyana’s Year of Jubilee
On 1 January 2016, HIS Excellency Brigadier David A. Granger, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana gave his New Year’s Address to his nation (see video at the bottom of this page). Guyana achieved independence from the United Kingdom under a state of emergency on 26 May 1966 and became a republic on 23 February 1970, remaining a member of the Commonwealth. He indicated that on 26 May 2016 the nation would be celebrating its golden jubilee of independence.
Guyana has the distinction of being the only South American nation in which English is the official language. Mr. Granger, in his speech has indicated that this year would be a year of renewal, reform and highlighted that it would be a time for National Renaissance. This has new meaning for this country as oil wells in the Liza field which is estimated to hold over 700 million barrels of oil are to go into production over the next few months. In addition to this, on 21 January, it was reported that the country has awarded British-based petroleum company Tullow Oil PLC a 10-year exploration license in an offshore basin near the South American country believed to contain other large amounts of oil and gas. Natural Resources Minister Raphael Trotman says the company will work with Eco Atlantic Oil & Gas of Canada to explore an area of 1,800 square kilometers (695 square miles). Tullow already has a joint-venture agreement with Repsol of Spain in another nearby area. Trotman said Thursday that the government signed a production-sharing deal with Tullow and Eco Atlantic should they discover commercial quantities of oil and gas.
Therefore with the already massive proven oil find and more explorations vigorously on the way, Guyana is expected to have a very bright Jubilee year. The concept of the Jubilee has its origins in the Book of Leviticus, where God gave instructions to the Israelites about certain releases and freedoms that would be afforded the people every fiftieth year. Therefore it seems almost prophetic that nationals of Guyana would be given hope for a much brighter future in their jubilee year.
Leviticus 25:10: And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man to his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.
Back in October 2014, Trinidad & Tobago’s then Minister of National Security, Mr. Gary Griffith indicated that there were over 110,000 illegals living and working in T&T. At that time he was determined to put an end to this since this figure was in excess of ten per cent of T&T’s adult population.
The Ministry of National Security gave a breakdown of the people who have overstayed their time in Trinidad and Tobago and have not yet departed as follows:
• Bangladeshis: 167
• Barbadians: 7,169
• Chinese: 4,593
• Colombians: 6,388
• Dominican Republic: 2,256
• Cubans: 1,434
• Grenadians: 6,947
• Guyanese: 25,884
• Indians: 3,651
• Jamaicans: 19,500
• Nigerians: 1,071
• Filipinos: 4,437
• St Lucians: 4,391
• St Vincent: 9,606
• Suriname: 1,944
• Venezuelans: 10,574
Illegal immigrants from Guyana topped the list with 25,884 individuals, with Jamaica coming in second with 19,500 individuals. Griffith said he had met a very “untidy situation” and he intended to deal with all aspects of national security. Once Immigration officials were able to locate people, they would have been deported back to their country.
While the illegal immigrants see this as a last resort in order to earn an income and to send money back home in order to support their families, the option only works it there are ruthless business people that grasp at the opportunity to exploit them. These immigrants must “stay under the radar” and end up working in the construction, security, domestic and sex industries. Under such conditions, their employers do not pay National Insurance or any taxes for them, and they may be paid under the minimum wage. In addition to this they do not receive any kind of paid leave and are subjected to ridicule and oppression..
The deeper downside of this is if they remain unemployed, and become desperate, they may then turn to a life of crime and this could play a very big part in criminal activities in T&T. On the more favorable side, many of them have settled here and can now be of value to Trinidad and Tobago, but it was indicated that they still need to be regularized and registered.
So, with the prospects of meaningful employment opportunities becoming available in Guyana over the next few months, it is anticipated that a significant percentage of T&T’s illegal immigrants will be returning home in the year of their nation’s jubilee.