The Barbadian Government is using Guyanese as the scapegoat for that country’s current economic situation.
This view was expressed by People’s Progressive Party General Secretary, Donald Ramotar, in an invited comment yesterday.
The Barbadian Government has embarked on a campaign to rid the island state of illegal nationals, most of whom are Guyanese and St Vincentians.
There are reports of raids on the properties occupied by mostly Guyanese of East Indian origin.
The move has been criticised by several prominent persons, including CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington, and the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves.
According to the PPP General Secretary, the position that Barbados is taking as it relates to non-Barbadian CARICOM citizens, particularly Guyanese, is threatening the very existence of CARICOM.
“The fact that the Barbados Government – and I would not say the Barbados people – is targeting Guyanese does not augur well for CARICOM integration,” Ramotar told this newspaper
He said that very soon the Barbadian authorities will try to make Guyanese the excuse for all the problems that the society is experiencing.
According to the PPP General Secretary, the situation is creating a feeling of “us and them” for the first time in the post-independence history of the region.
“It is something that is totally unacceptable and the Barbados Government should stop targeting Guyanese,” Ramotar stressed.
According to Ramotar, the actions of the Barbadian authorities could lead to a feeling of resentment in the Guyanese society.
“If Barbados is very serious about regional integration and the CARICOM moving together, this kind of behaviour cannot be accepted in the region,” he added.
The Barbados authorities are contending that they are targeting persons who are illegally on the island.
But Ramotar said that there is a history to the actions of the Barbadians.
He pointed out that Guyanese and other Caribbean nationals have been subjected to some terrible treatment in Barbados.
“There is even talk about a Guyanese bench at the Barbados airport which clearly shows that the present government has been pulling towards this kind of xenophobia in the society.”
“Now in particular, with the economic downturn that is having a significant effect on the Barbados economy, Guyanese are being made the scapegoats,” Ramotar told Kaieteur News.
He said that it is a real pity that the Barbados Government is behaving in this manner since Guyana and Barbados has very long links with persons in both countries having inter-relations and family ties.
“It is very sad when a government will be using this type of nationalistic behaviour to break up a relationship that has been built over centuries with people of common history,” the PPP General Secretary said.
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