Applicant now claims he was duped into taking State to court
Haitians’ High Court case
Allandres Archer, the applicant in the case against the Government over the detention of 26 Haitian nationals, has now come forward revealing that he wants to be withdrawn from the case, and even alleging that he was duped into filing the case against the State.
Archer made these stunning revelations in an on-camera interview on Wednesday, Archer said he had no intention to take the State, with Attorney General and Senior Counsel Anil Nandlall as respondent, to court.
He claimed that he never asked the lawyer representing the Haitians, Attorney-at-Law Darren Wade, to put him as an applicant or to represent him. Archer, who described himself as a businessman that facilitated the Haitians after they arrived in Guyana, said he was only supposed to be a witness in the case.
“After they made contact with me, I was to give Darren Wade an affidavit of what happened, to be a witness. And then it ended up with me as the person taking the Government to court, which I never agreed to. I never wanted any part of it. I asked him to withdraw my name. He then did a Power of Attorney to represent the people in court, and when the settlement came, I would obtain it. I didn’t want any part of it. I’m a businessman,” Archer said.
Archer explained that in his line of business, he deals with travel agencies throughout the Caribbean, and as such, this was how he first became involved in the matter of the Haitians. According to him, he was at the same hotel as the Haitians after being contacted regarding tickets, when he was arrested along with the Haitians.
“I was detained for 72 hours, then I got released on bail. And then, a few days after, the Haitian Society started to make enquiries and I told them what happened. Then they asked me to give Darren Wade an affidavit of being a witness to what happened. And that is what I agreed on. But to take this Government to court, or to fight on behalf of the Haitians, was never my intention.
“I did indicate to Wade that I wanted my name to be removed…When I said in the first place I didn’t hire him, he started showing me all these legal documents. And when I looked at it, I saw my signature there. That wasn’t my intention,” he said.
The businessman warned that if Attorney Wade does not withdraw his name from the proceedings, he would seek legal advice on the way forward. But he made it clear that he has never knowingly requested for Wade to represent him in the case, and he is determined for his name to be withdrawn as applicant.
This publication, meanwhile, contacted Wade, who steadfastly denied the allegations levelled by Archer. According to him, Archer had never communicated his desire to be removed from the case. In fact, Wade said, Archer knowingly signed the relevant documents acknowledging him as his Attorney-at-Law.
“Mr Archer would have gotten the documents whereby he appointed me to act as his attorney. He would have signed those documents. And I’m happy that those documentation had to be filed based upon the court rules,” Wade said.
“The court rules are clear, and he would have (sworn a statement) and so forth. Matter of fact, the date the matter was heard, he was sent the link and he was present. Mr Archer was present on the first occasion when the matter was called, and he made no objection. And I’m prepared to file legal proceedings against Mr Archer and media entities,” Wade said in defending himself.
The 26 Haitians were suspected to be victims of human trafficking, and were detained by the Guyana Police Force and subsequently placed in protective custody at the Hugo Chávez Centre since November 2020.
It was reported that 13 of the Haitians were first picked up by Police, acting on reasonable suspicion and information, at a hotel on South Road and taken to be interviewed by agents of the Trafficking in Persons (TIP) unit.
The remainder were picked up on November 8 after being intercepted at a Police roadblock in Linden. At the time, the Police became suspicious that they were being smuggled to Brazil through the Georgetown-Lethem route.
Chief Magistrate Sherdel Issacs-Marcus had subsequently issued deportation orders after being approached by the Immigration Office. However, the Association of Haitian Nationals in Guyana successfully approached acting Chief Justice Roxane George on December 3 to block the deportation until the constitutionality of their detention came up for the hearing of arguments.
Before that hearing with Archer as the applicant, however, the 26 Haitians suddenly vanished. When this publication visited the guest house they were staying at last month, it was confirmed that the 26 Haitians, including children, were no longer there.
Guyana Times was told that on December 17, two Route 94 mini-buses (which operate the Georgetown to Lethem route) picked up all the Haitians from the South Road, Georgetown building and left.