Free movement does not mean persons can reside illegally in any other country
Sir Shridath Ramphal allegation in Kaieteur News (July 4, 2009) that Barbados government is involved in “ethnic cleansing” based on an editorial he purportedly read in the Barbados Nation newspaper that “noted that one of the problems with Guyanese immigrants, and immigrants in general is that Barbados must not allow its racial balances to be disturbed by immigration” is unfortunate.
It is surprising that Sir Shridath, a man of international repute, on an issue of legality can make such diversion. If Sir Shridath’s allegation of “ethnic cleansing” is based on statement from the Barbados government then he would have been correct in his assumption.
The Barbados Nation is not government controlled and an editorial reference is not enough for making a claim that PM Thompson 5th May Immigration Policy is “ethnic cleansing.”
Barbados has found itself in a mess. For years they have allowed people to live illegally and now efforts to manage migration which obviously will affect Indian Guyanese as much as it would affect African Guyanese and other CARICOM nationals, is seen by some as “ethnic cleansing.” In Guyana “ethnic cleaning” refers to race.
Over the years I’ve followed Guyana’s politics and am convinced the greatest hindrance to this country’s development are the racial conflicts and discrimination. I think too it has the government support.
That is a problem Guyanese have to fix. Fixing it also requires acknowledgment and support of prominent Guyanese in Barbados like Sir Shridath Ramphal, Rickey Singh, Norman Faria and Campton Bourne.
They are many Guyanese Indians living in Barbados, including Sir Shridath, who have been the recipient of Bajans’ hospitality and cannot make claim of “ethnic cleansing.”
One therefore has to be concerned with this new claim. Frankly, I think there are persons in Guyana and in Barbados who had an immigration plan for Barbados and PM Thompson’s policy made them fearful things are not going exactly as planned. For them the next best plan was to accuse Barbados of “ethnic cleansing.”
They know too that Barbados relies heavily on tourism and image is important to this.
They have concluded that accusations of “ethnic cleansing” would hurt Barbados’ image and economy and because of this fear Barbados will no longer pursue its current immigration policy. How sad!
Dominica Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit, reminder that “free movement does not mean that persons can reside illegally in any other country” could be the starting point for level heads to continue the immigration debate. Barbados and every law-abiding country must not let the immigration issue be hijacked by accusation of “ethnic cleansing” based on an editorial purportedly carried in the Barbados Nation!