Guyana has instructed its Consulate in Barbados to compile reported cases of early morning raids on the homes of Guyanese resident on the island and to follow-up on the offer made by Prime Minister David Thompson to investigate such allegations.
Thompson had made the offer to President Bharrat Jagdeo during discussions on the matter.
At that time the Barbadian prime minister had denied any knowledge that the homes of Guyanese were being raided while implementing his government’s immigration policy.
Government spokesperson Dr. Roger Luncheon at his post-cabinet media briefing yesterday said Minister of Foreign Affairs Carolyn Rodrigues was urged to continue conveying government’s reservations to the Barbadian authorities on the frequency of reports of unfair treatment and harassment of Guyanese in Barbados.
“Recalling the pledge to investigate and deal with any such cases, [Honorary Consul Norman]Faria was instructed to follow-up on that offer.. compile cases and meet with them to examine them,” Luncheon said.
He disclosed too that cabinet has since undertaken to have the immigration and welfare authorities add the forced remigrants to the existing database of other remigrants and to provide them with assistance offered to others.
He acknowledged that the issue has since gained heightened attention and has also aroused strong and varied feelings among the Caricom heads and particularly the peoples of Caricom countries, leading some to question the future of the integration movement. However he reiterated that government remains committed to the furthering of integration in Caricom.
Meanwhile the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued a public notice calling on persons who have experienced ill treatment by Barbadian law enforcement to report to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In the advertisement which appears in today’s Stabroek News, it said that Government has since held discussions with its counterparts over reports of the treatment being meted out to its nationals in the implementation of the policy. It clearly states too that the Barbados government has assured this government that it does not condone such ill treatment.
Against the background of this pledge, Rodrigues in an interview with this newspaper on Tuesday said the Thompson administration, having denied knowledge that these things are happening could be confronted with specific cases.
Rodrigues said on a recent trip to Barbados she met with several Guyanese, many of whom attested to the treatment being meted out to some of their countrymen.
She declared that if Guyanese are there illegally and have to be deported they should at least be treated ‘humanely’.
Meanwhile Luncheon also told reporters yesterday that government expects to support some of the aspects of a motion tabled by the Alliance for Change (AFC) last month, which basically proposes that government do all in its power to protect the rights of Guyanese nationals in Barbados and other Caricom states.
The motion, in the name of AFC MP Raphael Trotman seeks to have the House call on government to exhaust all diplomatic and legal efforts to guarantee the protection of its people, providing assistance for “dignified repatriation” in cases where they are returned from Barbados or other territories in the region.
It also seeks to have the government make preparation for the social and economic re-integration of such nationals in the Guyanese society.
The move came on the eve of the beginning of a period which the Barbados government has set aside for undocumented non-nationals living in Barbados to seek to regularise their status, as part its efforts to clamp down on illegal immigrants.
The motion is informed by the deep concern of members of the National Assembly about the well-being, human rights and dignity of those Guyanese citizens who are resident and those who travel to Barbados and other Caricom states. As a result, the National Assembly is being urged to call on all sister Caricom governments and in particular Barbados, “to ensure due process and protection under the Constitution and laws of Barbados”.
It is expected to be debated in the National Assembly shortly.