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Letter to the Editor

The Indian Action (formerly Arrival) Committee (IAC) has appraised itself of an article captioned “Are you Guyanese?, asked Local Immigration Officer”, which appeared in the September 15, 2015, edition of the Guyana Times. The said article alluded to the treatment meted out to Mr. Shivnarine Chanderpaul by an Immigration Officer at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA). If the content is accurate, then the first reaction to Mr. Chanderpaul being asked if he is Guyanese, would be hilarity.
If the Officer in question were to be given the doubt of not recognizing a local and international cricket icon like Mr. Chanderpaul, and if it is that he, Mr. Chanderpaul, produced a Guyanese passport to the Immigration desk, then the IAC believes the question regarding his nationality is not only baseless but may have been premised on an agenda to disparage. In addition, it smacks of unprofessionalism on the part of that Officer and besmirched the reputation of the Immigration Department.
The IAC recalls an incident where persons of Indian nationality were refused entry at the CJIA and left to wait for a lengthy period, reportedly on the Tarmac, for a return flight. It is believed that such treatment, for various reasons of persons of East Indian extraction, was not in isolation. While the IAC is cognizant that they may have been reasons for refusing entry and the need to ask pertinent questions, given reportedly such multiple incidents, the IAC is made to believe that it is a demonstration of profiling and is compelled to ask if this latest incident is deliberate to denigrate persons of East Indian ancestry.
The IAC is not in any way advocating for special treatment of Mr. Chanderpaul,which is clearly discretionary by such Officers, it believes that he deserves an unconditional apology for having his nationality being questioned. The IAC therefore calls on the authority of the Immigration Department investigate the incident and to implement measures to avoid a repeat of such behavior being meted out to anyone. More so, the IAC is gravely concern if persons of East Indian ancestry are indeed being profiled and again calls on the relevant authority to make a pronouncement.
Coordinator/ Secretary of IAC
Hema Ramcharran

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