Foreigner Good, West Indian Bad – What Mirror Image is depicted by Barbados’ Prime Minister for Regional Integration?

One of the most stirring speeches in Barbados after Clement Payne’s “Today is a Funny Night” from the July 1937 Riots, would be Errol Barrow’s “Mirror Image” speech where he seeks for the listener to interpret accurately as to how Barbados is portrayed to the world at large, but while he did refer to immigration it was Bajans as export not receiving immigrants that was his main concern.

Prime Minister should concentrate on Wage Moratorium or Freeze rather than Immigration details

Prime Minister should concentrate on Wage Moratorium or Freeze rather than Immigration details

One has to wonder how the late Right Excellent would view his young protege, David John Howard Thompson in a recent series of debacles as it related to travel, immigration and the Caribbean itself – areas which the late Father of Independence, while very proudly Bajan, was nevertheless heavily active in seeking the realisation of a Pan-Island Network (One only has to recall, Errol Barrow on his death, left instructions for his ashes to be scattered over the Caribbean Sea).

Thompson has been very active in dealing with Immigration matters instead of more pressing matters with the Economy, he proposed a number of measures which many Barbadians see as attempting to stem the tide of “undocumented immigrants” which has been, rightly or wrongly, assumed for the most part as Guyanese.

This meets with the approval of many members within the Barbadian Community who are more Jingo-istic and Nazi in their view towards an open community, and the drive has appeared to have encouraged Immigration to get very vigorous in ensuring who stays or who leaves – this has led to mistakes, such as a Guyanese widow who calls Barbados home for the last 12 years.

She has has visited Immigration to seek permits and pay all her necessary dues even though married to a Bajan now deceased. They had children, she has a mortgage and yet when she went Immigration last month? She is now told to leave the island – her stay is no longer welcome, despite all evidence of her legal status and emoluments, etc. She has no family in Demerara, Georgetown, Esequibo or anywhere in Guyana – but she must go, yet her children can stay as they are Bajan, one has to wonder what logic there was in this decision or did she spurn the desires of the wrong person? I understand it is before the courts now…

Barbadians as they become a more developed society have no real lust for jobs which lead to dirt under the fingernails – i.e. such as Sanitation, Cane Harvesting or other “dirty work,” so it is no surprise when Vincentians, St Lucians, Dominicans and Guyanese leave their homeland in the hopes of earning a dollar and come here to fill the jobs ‘we‘ cannot be bothered with…

Bajans have no problem in letting these ‘outsiders‘ do the work, but when as part of their reward they look to earn the right to stay here permanently, now it is a problem? Why then do the Bajans not cut cane and pick up the trash if they want no foreigners here seeking the same benefits they were born to? How does this fare in the allegedly desired benchmark of a Single Market and Economy for not just Barbados but all the islands from Jamaica in the north to Trinidad in the south? As well as Guyana on the South American continent?

The deadline for the “undocumented” to be culled was to have been late last year, but this flew by with minimal flurry as is the norm when posturing is done to engender sympathy for a ruling party of either side. Maybe the Prime Minister had a second heart when he considered the number of illegal Barbadians in both England and the USA or even in Guyana, apart from Criminal Deportees which Canada and USA return here without any negotiations.

When there are “undocumented” who seek to reap the benefits of a Barbadian lifestyle without contributing to the local infrastructure, then one can understand the wish to curtail such parasites. However, when you have members of Caricom looking to carry Barbados forward in a legal manner and are under the microscope as the result of some bad apples, perhaps it is time for the Prime Minister to intervene in a manner familiar to the Tourism Authority’s annual event honouring repeat guests?

Prime Minister David Thompson and wife Mara Thompson share a moment with Benoît Santerre (right) and his wife Louise (left), who have been visiting the island since 1970. {B'dos Advocate}

Prime Minister David Thompson and wife Mara Thompson share a moment with Benoît Santerre (right) and his wife Louise (left), who have been visiting the island since 1970. {B'dos Advocate}

These lawful immigrants can have “Honorary Citizenship” conferred on them in the same way the BTA recommends to the Prime Minister of which overseas guests who have visited Barbados for 30 years or more to earn the right of this Immigration facility.

If anything, the lawful immigrants may have more rights to such a privilege then the visitors, if you average a guest at 3 months for the last fifty years, this is a total of close to 11 years – I know of legitimate immigrants who spent twice as long in service of Barbados and yet hailed from another territory, should they not be feted at Ilaro Court with much celebration?

BTW: For those who wonder? Here is the latest crop of visitors conferred this hallowed rank, as confirmed by the Barbados Advocate (entire article reprinted in case this is removed);-

Loyal visitors urged to further promote Barbados


By Regina Selman Moore

Spread the message about what Barbados has to offer and continue to promote Barbados.

This was Prime Minister David Thompson’s plea to a number of repeat visitors, who visited Ilaro Court for a Cocktail Reception on Wednesday night.

Thompson, in greeting the guests on behalf of himself and his wife Mara Thompson, urged them to use whatever means they have available to them, including the social networking website Facebook, to post the best images and experiences and encounters they have had, so as to further promote the island.

We depend on you to visit us and to let others know what a great time you have had,” Thompson remarked.

Earlier this year, the Prime Minister noted that Government will be employing a number of “simple measures” to aid in Barbados’ recovery from the global economic recession. Stressing the importance of promoting the tourism product to further build loyalty and patriotism from repeat visitors, Thompson noted that loyal visitors to Barbados can look forward not only to more cocktail receptions at the Prime Minister’s official residence, Ilaro Court, but to other initiatives via Barbados’ Friends and Family programme.

This programme is designed for the Barbados Diaspora in key overseas markets, specifically to increase visitor arrivals to Barbados, and at the same time reward members for their efforts in reaching out to friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues, convincing them to visit or revisit Barbados.

Thompson also spoke of the need to involve more youth in tourism and as such he said, a number of primary and secondary school children will be invited to mingle with guests, learn from their experiences as well as share with them at the cocktail receptions.

This time around, guests were serenaded by pupils from the St. Cyprian’s Boys’ School as they entered Ilaro Court and later in the night, with special pieces such as “De Fisherman Song”, Red Plastic Bag’s Crop Over hit “Something’s Happening”, amongst others.

Also present this week were students from various secondary schools, including St. Leonards Boys’, Princess Margaret, Alleyne, and the Deighton Griffith School.

Numerous repeat visitors who spoke to the Barbados Advocate expressed their delight with “all things Barbadian”, and they certainly seemed captivated by the special night out prepared with them in mind. A number of the guests, who have already persuaded their friends and family to follow in their footsteps and visit Barbados, indicated that the warm welcome they receive, as well as the friendships they have built over the years, are special incentives which encourage them to visit time and time again.

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