Guyana’s consul to hasten pace of investigation
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs will be pressing Guyana’s consul in Barbados to hasten the pace of his investigation into the allegations that Guyanese are being unfairly targeted in that Caricom country.
Yesterday, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon, said that the administration will continue conveying its reservations to the Barbadian authorities at the frequency of reports of “unfair treatment and harassment” of Guyanese resident in Barbados.
Dr. Luncheon said that following the pledge by Prime Minister, David Thompson, to investigate cases of Guyanese being harassed, Honorary Consul, Norman Faria, was urged to verify and compile the cases to have a meeting with the Prime Minister.
In Guyana, Dr. Luncheon said, it was undertaken to have the immigration authorities and welfare authorities add the ‘forced re-migrants’ to the existing database of other re-migrants from elsewhere.
The local authorities, he said, was also urged to provide these ‘forced re-migrants’ with similar assistance and services as that provided to others.
The issue of the way Guyanese is being treated, Dr. Luncheon said, has assumed some heightened attention and it has aroused strong and varied feelings among the Heads of Government and the peoples of Caricom. This has led to persons questioning the integration movement, its wholesomeness and its future.
“Cabinet reiterated its commitment to furthering the integration of Caricom,” Dr. Luncheon said.
The treatment of Guyanese in Barbados will be debated in parliament today.
Last week, Prime Minister, Thompson spoke out strongly against Caribbean Governments that have commented publicly on his administration’s new immigration policy.
He said that the leaders’ reaction was hurting the regional integration process more than the policy itself.
“There seems to be a mad rush now for everybody to say something new. I have announced a domestic immigration policy that is not a matter for other Caribbean prime ministers to comment on,” Thompson said.
The new policy will give six-month amnesty offer to Caribbean Community (Caricom) nationals living in Barbados illegally to regularise their status or face deportation.
President Bharrat Jagdeo has expressed his concerns about the treatment of Guyanese in Barbados, many of whom claim they have been ill-treated by immigration authorities and deported.
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, has also raised concerns about the new policy, noting that it flies in the face of the spirit of Caricom.
The issue will be discussed at the upcoming Heads of Government Summit that will be hosted in Guyana from July 2.