Immigration officials in Barbados barred two Ukrainians from entering the country after they could not produce return tickets to their homeland. This action has angered their intended host who says he is now considering whether to pull his millions out of Barbados because of the recent incident.
In fact, the foreign investor to this country wants an immigration officer fired for “verbally ill-treating” his two Ukrainian friends who arrived here 12 days ago at his invitation and were not allowed to stay.
Panama-based Vasily Burachenok, a Russian native with two data programming companies in Barbados, said the only way he can get closure on behalf of his friends is for local authorities to dismiss the male immigration officer.
“I believe that with all my goodwill. I believe…not in my interest, but in the interest of Barbados, that the best way that Barbados can address this, is to fire this guy from Immigration. He is killing Barbados. That is what I believe, to be completely honest with you,” Burachenok told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
The investor, who said the frustrating bureaucracy his business friends continue to experience at Immigration from time to time and the unfriendly business climate here, have already forced him to scrap the proposed establishment of his company headquarters here and set it up in Panama.
He also revealed that on the day in question, he – accompanied by his wife Tatiana Carpaciova and 12-year-old daughter Tamara Carpaciova – arrived in Barbados from Panama on the same flight as his husband and wife friends, to set up a third company.
However, the businessman said that the decision has now been suspended due to the treatment meted out to his friends at Grantley Adams International Airport on July 27.
Burachenok’s friend Denys Bykadorov said in statement shared with Barbados TODAY that when he and his common-law wife Maryna Ilchenko arrived at the airport and their passports were checked, they were asked by a female immigration officer to step aside “for an unknown reason”.
Bykadorov said a second officer asked them to go to a room where they sat and waited for about ten minutes before his friend’s wife brought their luggage.
He said that because of the language barrier, they had difficulty understanding the female officer who he claimed spoke quickly.
Bykadorov recalled that a third official informed them they had to show a return ticket to their native Ukraine.
“My wife informed him that she had her ticket from Panama to the Ukraine. At the same time, I attempted, using my basic English, to explain that I had not decided when I would return to the Ukraine, but that it seemed strange that the immigration officer in Barbados should insist that I have a return ticket to my country of citizenship.”
He suggested that as a businessman, he may want to visit several other countries before returning home.
“I am a businessman, and before returning to the Ukraine, I may visit several countries. I am entitled to adjust my travel plans and I respectfully believe that immigration should only ask questions pertaining to my stay in Barbados (accommodation, finances and departure). The rest of my life belongs to me,” he declared, adding that he was told possession of a return ticket to one’s country was a requirement.
However, it was the interaction with a fourth immigration officer that has left a bitter taste in his mouth.
The visitor claimed that the mature male officer shouted at him “you must leave now”.
“We asked why. He continued shouting very aggressively and he was speaking very quickly and arrogantly. I understood him to say ‘I decide whether you stay in the country or leave; and I have decided that you go now. I am the power,’” the Ukrainian businessman alleged.
“I asked if we could be given written reasons for his decision. He started to laugh in our face and said: ‘I don’t have to give you anything,’” the visitor claimed.
The Ukrainian said the officer continued his aggressive attitude and laughter before other immigration officials came and checked their baggage again and place them on the same flight back to Panama.
Barbados TODAY reached out to Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson, who asked Acting Chief Immigration Officer Margaret Inniss to carry out an investigation into the matter.
That investigation revealed that the couple was refused entry into Barbados because they did not have the requisite return ticket to their homeland.
“In this instance, the passengers’ refusal to purchase tickets; their admittance to not having the funds to purchase the tickets and the fact that they did not refer to any such person who could assist with the purchasing of their tickets, support a reason which suggest that they may have been a possible lien on the public purse of Barbados,” the acting chief reported.
She noted that, for the most part, refusals are based on a person being a threat to national security, a lien on the public purse and a prohibited immigrant.
Inniss told Barbados TODAY the couple arrived here from Panama seeking entry for 14 days as guests of Port Ferdinand in St Peter.
“The individuals were referred for a secondary inspection to officer in charge, Carlisle Murray and during this period, it was revealed that neither of them was in possession of the requisite return ticket,” she explained.
The acting chief said further investigation revealed that the passengers did not have the money to buy return tickets nor did they indicate that they had friends who could buy the tickets.
However, she disclosed that this information only became available when their hosts called; but by that time the flight had already left.
“I have examined the circumstances and I have determined that the lack of proper communication regarding the purchase of a return ticket, significantly contributed to the individuals being denied entry,” Inniss revealed.
She also told Barbados TODAY that a meeting was subsequently convened yesterday at the request of Shadia Simpson, the attorney-at-law for the foreign investor and his wife.
“It was agreed that Ms Ilchenko and Mr Bykadorov are welcomed to return to Barbados at a time convenient to them, provided that they satisfy the requirements at the port of entry,” said the acting immigration boss.
She disclosed that for 2019 so far, the Barbados Government has spent significant sums of money in the repatriation of non-CARICOM nationals compared to CARICOM citizens. [email protected]