Grenada to deport 15 Haitians

St George’s – The Grenada government on Monday said that it would deport 15 Haitian nationals, who entered the island as a group of tourists on Sunday because immigration has determined that they would be a burden to the public purse.

Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, who is also the Minister for National Security and Immigration, told a news conference that the French-speaking nationals had arrived here on a flight from neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

“So, the Immigration officers in their normal routine checks were able to ascertain to make the determination that in fact, they will be a charge on the public purse if they were in fact permitted to enter the state,” said Prime Minister Mitchell, noting that the decision was based on the amount of cash in the possession of the Haitians when they arrived here.

He said that because Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) grouping, there are very specific and limited grounds that can be used to prevent a CARICOM national from entering a member state.

“One of which is a charge on the public purse and the second will be in broad terms, national security risk, in this case, it was purely on the basis of a charge on the public purse,” Mitchell said, indicating that the Haitians were unable to stay in a hotel for at least one night.

“If you are not a citizen of Grenada and you come to Grenada, you can only be staying at a hotel for at least one night unless you have a friend or family, and in the absence of friends or family it means that you have to be able to afford a hotel at least for one night.

“If you don’t have cash or credit card that allows you to afford a hotel for one night, it means you don’t have a place to stay, and if you don’t have a place to stay and we let you into our community what is going to happen, it means we as a state will have to take care of you,” he said.

Grenada is hoping to send them back on Monday night.

Mitchell acknowledged that the political and economic situation in Haiti will be discussed at the three-day CARICOM summit to be held in the Bahamas from Wednesday. (CMC)

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