The Democratic Labour Party appears ‘Ever So Welcome,’ create new Bajan citizens because United Nations won’t ‘Wait For a Call’ by Henderson Bovell #politics #barbados #dlpbarbados
Barbadians woke-up to the news on Thursday 12 April 2012 – that some 120 persons were conferred with the noble honour of now being ‘citizens of Barbados.‘ The Barbados Labour Party must be congratulated because the DLP has a very dingy record on immigration matters. In fact, left to the Democratic Labour Party, all persons not born in Barbados and who the DLP does not consider, “high-net worth-individuals” would have been deported by now. The good news for those 120 comes within a few days after a visit to Barbados by United Nations Human Rights Commissioner, Navi Pillay. And yet, the ruling party has taken some time to make a decision on Garcia, ‘despite a visit.’
But, ‘the kiss of death’ is a DLP trademark! It welcomed a plane-load of persons from Africa. It was therefore shocking to many, when – under the same DLP Government, those same persons were placed in a military prison. Imagine! That happened at a time when the freedom ship: ‘Amistad’ was in Barbadian Waters.
No one will ever forget the concern expressed by the Opposition BLP, as well as by regional leaders like the Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the then President of Guyana, who objected strongly to nationals from their country, being rounded-up in the dead of the night and deported, as part of the DLP’s inhumane; hard-line; iron-fist immigration policy. But while Thompson and the DLP were telling CARICOM nationals: “ever so welcome wait for a call,” it is said that the same DLP Government is paying a man $6,000 per month (as his job description is alleged to read) “to mingle with high net worth individuals.”
In contrast, it is this same DLP Government, which made it much harder for persons to get Barbadian citizenship when it introduced an amnesty of sorts, through which it advised ‘undocumented‘ Caribbean migrants that they had to go to the Immigration Department between 1st June and 1st December 2009, but the only way people could ever qualify for citizenship under the DLP is if they were in Barbados before January 1st 1998. THAT SEEMS LIKE A PERIOD OF 11 YEARS AND 11 MONTH BY MY RECKONING!
Everyone else would have been subjected to the DLP’s “kiss of death Christmas Gift:” deportation commencing 1 December, 2009. But, as you all know, the DLP did not wait for that date to commence deportation. That too might have concerned the Human Rights Commissioner as much as it did Regional Heads, but certainly the Opposition BLP and Regional Academics.
As would be expected, the BLP has a more humane approach to dealing with people, especially CARICOM nationals. As part of our policy, undocumented CARICOM citizens or those living in Barbados illegally but WHO HAD RESIDED IN BARBADOS FOR 5 YEARS – were permitted to come forward and apply for Immigrant Status. And once they were able to demonstrate to the Immigration authorities that they were gainfully employed, had no criminal record, and were likely to make a constructive contribution to our society, they were accepted.
Furthermore, if they failed to convince the Immigration Department and were rejected, they were given a right of appeal to an “Immigration Review Committee” chaired by a Minister of Government. ONLY if they had failed to convince this Committee, were they ordered to leave Barbados but they were still given time to sort themselves and their affairs out.
Instead of seeking to gain political mileage on citizenship, what the DLP should be doing is giving the country a status report on issues such as: (a) the settlement of the long-awaited Protocol on Contingent Rights that will settle what benefits Caricom citizens will access if they live in another Caricom country; (b) the Guest Workers’ Protocol as well as (c) the latest on the Green Paper on Immigration the BLP left on the desk.
But such calls for know-how and real work, which the DLP is allergic to. There would be no cameras and no publicity to be gained and naturally, the DLP is not interested. The new Barbadians must constantly be reminded that left to the DLP, they would have been deported, especially if (in the DLP’s eyes) they are not high net worth individuals.