Categorized | Editorial, Local

Is CARICOM guilty in any matter similar to the Dominican Republic

Editorial – November 29, 2013 :

Sir Ronald Sanders has always been, and more recently writing several commentaries on matters and issues involving and relating to CARICOM member states and the region in general. For this purpose we do remember that most of the OECS states/territories and associated states/territories are members of CARICOM.

It didn’t escape Sanders the dangers to the Caribbean Community of the issues in Barbados and now Trinidad and Jamaica. The fact of that is, perhaps may on a smaller scale, the problem/s exists between most or the entire region and the Community in particular.

Couple months ago the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruled that it will block citizenship for people born to immigrants without residency permits since 1929. Activists say it would affect more than 200,000 people, nearly all of them Dominican-born people of Haitian descent.

Trinidad was probably the first among others to abhor the ruling. CARICOM spoke for them all issuing a statement saying, “the ruling renders tens of thousands of people ‘stateless in violation of international human rights obligations.’ The statement calls on the Dominican government to protect the rights of ‘those made vulnerable by this ruling and its grievous effects.’”

St. Vincent had their say, Montserrat’s Premier chided, and the OECS at the end of their 58th Meeting of the Authority, issued a statement, which said, among other things, “until this injustice has been addressed, the Member States of the OECS would find it extremely difficult to engage with the Dominican Republic in various for a including with the councils of the Caribbean Forum of Aftrican Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (CARIFORUM).

Premier Meade prior to the OECS Statement said, ”during his welcome at the opening of the meeting, “, we must stand firm to ensure that our Haitian brothers and sisters are treated fairly. We do not want to reach the stage where, within the OECS, where we are asking our Dominican Republic nationals to transit out of our region until their host government…their national government does the right thing.”

Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Community. The Dominican Republic has declared its intention to join.

We asked the OECS heads at the post meeting press conference on Nov 22 whether any of our islands within the OECS are guilty of anything close to what the DR has done? The reply: “Let’s mark this thing out of 100, the guilt of Dominican Republic is 99.999 therefore the difference from that and  hundred is our level of guilt.”

That of course says that the problem is next to 0, but while the question did not ask about similar situations, it was alluding to the immigration problems within the Community that must be a serious hindrance to integration and CSME.

We then remember the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) Barbados – Jamaica ruling and in the face of that up jumps the Trinidad-Jamaica turmoil.

On November 19, Trinidad and Tobago immigration officials denied entry to 13 Jamaicans and sent them back to Jamaica the following day. If taken to court it seems Jamaica will prevail. Sanders noted, “In denying them entry, immigration officers did not take account of “Community Law”, which has precedence over inconsistent domestic legislation, as stated by the CCJ.

The issue that this occurs frequently within the Community, even if the numbers are much smaller, people do not usually react as is obviously the case now.

The matter is a people issue and one which the CARICOM leaders must realise they need to get down, way down through those to whom they have entrusted the authority and get Caribbean people to love one another, understanding that their future demands this, now.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

Editorial – November 29, 2013 :

Sir Ronald Sanders has always been, and more recently writing several commentaries on matters and issues involving and relating to CARICOM member states and the region in general. For this purpose we do remember that most of the OECS states/territories and associated states/territories are members of CARICOM.

It didn’t escape Sanders the dangers to the Caribbean Community of the issues in Barbados and now Trinidad and Jamaica. The fact of that is, perhaps may on a smaller scale, the problem/s exists between most or the entire region and the Community in particular.

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Couple months ago the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruled that it will block citizenship for people born to immigrants without residency permits since 1929. Activists say it would affect more than 200,000 people, nearly all of them Dominican-born people of Haitian descent.

Trinidad was probably the first among others to abhor the ruling. CARICOM spoke for them all issuing a statement saying, “the ruling renders tens of thousands of people ‘stateless in violation of international human rights obligations.’ The statement calls on the Dominican government to protect the rights of ‘those made vulnerable by this ruling and its grievous effects.’”

St. Vincent had their say, Montserrat’s Premier chided, and the OECS at the end of their 58th Meeting of the Authority, issued a statement, which said, among other things, “until this injustice has been addressed, the Member States of the OECS would find it extremely difficult to engage with the Dominican Republic in various for a including with the councils of the Caribbean Forum of Aftrican Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (CARIFORUM).

Premier Meade prior to the OECS Statement said, ”during his welcome at the opening of the meeting, “, we must stand firm to ensure that our Haitian brothers and sisters are treated fairly. We do not want to reach the stage where, within the OECS, where we are asking our Dominican Republic nationals to transit out of our region until their host government…their national government does the right thing.”

Haiti is a member of the Caribbean Community. The Dominican Republic has declared its intention to join.

We asked the OECS heads at the post meeting press conference on Nov 22 whether any of our islands within the OECS are guilty of anything close to what the DR has done? The reply: “Let’s mark this thing out of 100, the guilt of Dominican Republic is 99.999 therefore the difference from that and  hundred is our level of guilt.”

That of course says that the problem is next to 0, but while the question did not ask about similar situations, it was alluding to the immigration problems within the Community that must be a serious hindrance to integration and CSME.

We then remember the Caribbean Court of Justice’s (CCJ) Barbados – Jamaica ruling and in the face of that up jumps the Trinidad-Jamaica turmoil.

On November 19, Trinidad and Tobago immigration officials denied entry to 13 Jamaicans and sent them back to Jamaica the following day. If taken to court it seems Jamaica will prevail. Sanders noted, “In denying them entry, immigration officers did not take account of “Community Law”, which has precedence over inconsistent domestic legislation, as stated by the CCJ.

The issue that this occurs frequently within the Community, even if the numbers are much smaller, people do not usually react as is obviously the case now.

The matter is a people issue and one which the CARICOM leaders must realise they need to get down, way down through those to whom they have entrusted the authority and get Caribbean people to love one another, understanding that their future demands this, now.