Categorized | Local, News, Regional

Detention of Caribbean nationals

Antigua Observer

By Antiguan Non-National

Dear Editor,

I read an article entitled Detention Centre Opens on Antigua on the Caribarena online and the Daily OBSERVER dated July 10, 2012, with utter sadness and disappointment.

The authorities, including Minister Errol Cort and Chief Immigration Officer Ivor Walker, both expressed appreciation for this vision of a facility, but I would like to say that this will turn around and condemn Antigua & Barbuda.

There are only a few Caribbean countries that have an actual immigration detention centre, including Trinidad & Tobago.

The other countries have seen it fit for whatever reason, just to detain violators of their immigration policies at their police stations etc, and to ensure speedy deportations or allow voluntary returns.

Antigua & Barbuda is a small nation whose majority of citizens have chosen to live in other countries, specifically in the USVI, USA and UK, and many of these started out and many still do live illegally in theses countries.

Many Antiguan women have chosen to have their babies abroad, especially in the USA so they can receive better benefits for their children. So from a moral standpoint the pleasure that these officials get from the “new prison in disguise” – for that is exactly what it is – would not have been welcome by their own nationals living illegally in other countries.

If, on the other hand, the officials are seeking to reach the so-called international development standard index by having a “humane” detention centre, as they are stating, there are a lot of other areas of development that could be concentrated on instead of trying to imprison innocent people who have committed no crimes.

The number of innocent, hardworking people that will be placed in this facility will be pronounced and, just like in every other detention centre, we will hear of the rapes, assaults, both verbal and physical, and the further injustices that will happen to the foreigners.

In fact, speaking about foreigners, it will be the usual suspects that will mainly be housed there – the Guyanese and the Jamaicans. The same set of black Caribbean people who are the ones we see lining up trying to get their time regularised. Not the Chinese, not the white Europeans or Americans, no one but the black indigenous Caribbean people.

The same Caribbean that we speak of coming together in the CSME is further being divided by what I consider as a backward measure because the authorities are not trying to bring this Caribbean together as one.

It seems that we will never learn or be able to achieve the things we can, as one Caribbean single market space as we seek to divide, isolate and imprison our own people.

There is no doubt that every country should seek to curtail its immigration process, but the fact is that no country can ever stop the migration process. People have always and will always move to other places where they feel that their lives can be better.

My suggestion is that instead of focusing on erecting prisons, we should seek to enforce our border immigration policies and then deal with law-breakers through the police force as allowed by law.

Detention centres all across the world, where they choose to have them, are rife with all sorts of abuse, rapes and corruption. Many in Europe and the USA have had to make reforms, and in some cases, close down their facilities because it is not humane. It will come back to haunt this nation.

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Antigua Observer

By Antiguan Non-National

Dear Editor,

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I read an article entitled Detention Centre Opens on Antigua on the Caribarena online and the Daily OBSERVER dated July 10, 2012, with utter sadness and disappointment.

The authorities, including Minister Errol Cort and Chief Immigration Officer Ivor Walker, both expressed appreciation for this vision of a facility, but I would like to say that this will turn around and condemn Antigua & Barbuda.

There are only a few Caribbean countries that have an actual immigration detention centre, including Trinidad & Tobago.

The other countries have seen it fit for whatever reason, just to detain violators of their immigration policies at their police stations etc, and to ensure speedy deportations or allow voluntary returns.

Antigua & Barbuda is a small nation whose majority of citizens have chosen to live in other countries, specifically in the USVI, USA and UK, and many of these started out and many still do live illegally in theses countries.

Many Antiguan women have chosen to have their babies abroad, especially in the USA so they can receive better benefits for their children. So from a moral standpoint the pleasure that these officials get from the “new prison in disguise” – for that is exactly what it is – would not have been welcome by their own nationals living illegally in other countries.

If, on the other hand, the officials are seeking to reach the so-called international development standard index by having a “humane” detention centre, as they are stating, there are a lot of other areas of development that could be concentrated on instead of trying to imprison innocent people who have committed no crimes.

The number of innocent, hardworking people that will be placed in this facility will be pronounced and, just like in every other detention centre, we will hear of the rapes, assaults, both verbal and physical, and the further injustices that will happen to the foreigners.

In fact, speaking about foreigners, it will be the usual suspects that will mainly be housed there – the Guyanese and the Jamaicans. The same set of black Caribbean people who are the ones we see lining up trying to get their time regularised. Not the Chinese, not the white Europeans or Americans, no one but the black indigenous Caribbean people.

The same Caribbean that we speak of coming together in the CSME is further being divided by what I consider as a backward measure because the authorities are not trying to bring this Caribbean together as one.

It seems that we will never learn or be able to achieve the things we can, as one Caribbean single market space as we seek to divide, isolate and imprison our own people.

There is no doubt that every country should seek to curtail its immigration process, but the fact is that no country can ever stop the migration process. People have always and will always move to other places where they feel that their lives can be better.

My suggestion is that instead of focusing on erecting prisons, we should seek to enforce our border immigration policies and then deal with law-breakers through the police force as allowed by law.

Detention centres all across the world, where they choose to have them, are rife with all sorts of abuse, rapes and corruption. Many in Europe and the USA have had to make reforms, and in some cases, close down their facilities because it is not humane. It will come back to haunt this nation.