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Jan 27, 2023

Influx of Haitian Nationals to Belize Strain Local Law Enforcement Services

Kareem Musa

Belize has become a migration point for Haitian nationals who are intent on entering the U.S. The influx of these CARICOM citizens has caused the Immigration Department to become more vigilant. But, it is also placing a strain on the services of the Belize Police Department. Earlier this week, Minister of Home Affairs Kareem Musa was asked to respond to reports that the Immigration Department was withholding travel documents from a number of Haitian nationals who had recently entered the country. Chester Williams, the Commissioner of Police also spoke with the media about the challenge his department is facing in policing the inflow.


Kareem Musa, Minister of Home Affairs

 “I am not aware of the specifics in terms of what immigration is doing in terms of passports. I am aware that there is an increase in the number of Haitians coming in. Of course, you are aware of the on the ground situation in Haiti. So, of course there is concern on the ground at the Immigration Department, not just the number of Haitians coming to Belize. If they were just coming to Belize then fine, but we likewise have international obligations as well to upkeep, but a lot of them are leaving Belize and it is presumed that they are going to the United States of America. And I think that Belize is a unique situation unlike any other Caribbean country because we are attached to the main land and it is such an easy route to get to the United States.”


Chester Williams

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police

“When it comes to Haitians, we have to be extremely careful. You are all aware of the Treaty of Chaguaramas which provides for the free movement of CARICOM nationals within CARICOM member states and so Haitians do have that right, because they are CARICOM citizens to move within the region, so long as it is done in conformity within he local immigration laws, i.e. you came into the country ordinary or legal border and you have to declare to immigration where you will be staying or with who you will be staying. It is what on that basis that the others who came before eventually had to be released. If it is that we were to keep these people in custody longer than necessary then we open ourselves to be sued and taken before the Caribbean Court of Justice.”

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