Authorities in the United States are not providing enough information on the criminal records of persons they deport to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and other countries, says Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves.
“We have had great difficulties with the Americans, in particular, to give us the information, the antecedents, the history of the individuals who are being deported,” he said on Tuesday.
“I just don’t get it, and they give you all kinds of reasons why you can’t get it. None of them make any sense to me,” Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said in a call to Boom FM.
His comments came in the wake of the shocking revelation that Vermont man Veron Primus, who has been charged with the November 2015 murder of real estate agent Sharleen Greaves, had been investigated 10 years earlier in the United States in connection with the murder of a teenager there.
Primus is also charged with the kidnapping of Mewanah Hadaway of Vermont.
Investigators in the United States say they believe that the woman who Primus was suspected of killing in the United States was also held for days before being murdered.
The crimes for which Primus has been charged were allegedly committed just over a year after Primus was deported from the United States after serving a prison sentence there.
Gonsalves, who is also Minister of National Security, said that the lack of adequate information about deportees from U.S. authorities is a complaint among governments in the region.
He said a government would get information either through the Ministry of National Security or the diplomatic channels that a particular person is being deported at a certain time.
“And all they would tell you is [the person’s] age. They ain’t even tell you what he is being deported for. They just tell you he is being deported. … And even if you are informed about the specific reason for the deportation, they don’t tell you his antecedents.”
Gonsalves said the United States may deport someone for an immigration violation, but the person may also be a hardened criminal with a record.
“So, we try, when the deportees come to do a system of tracking, but it would be very helpful if we know — for instance, the correctional facilities in the United States would know whether a fella is a psychopath,” Gonsalves said.
He said the receiving government requests the information from the Unites States but don’t get it.
“Not only here, but throughout the Caribbean. That is an issue upon which we have been fighting. You get all kinds of reasons: well, it is private information, you can’t give it; you get the reason that this is not a federal offence and is federal people who — it’s a state thing and they don’t have the records,” Gonsalves said.
“Basically, they don’t want to take the time to give you — because, remember you know, they deport persons to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, but they deport throughout the Caribbean and the whole of Latin America. So they don’t want to be tied up with all the bureaucratic work to give you all the information in each case, so they just land their problems on you, and these people, a large number of them go to the states as young children and know nothing about St. Vincent and the Grenadine or Jamaica or Barbados for that matter,” Gonsalves said.