CARIBBEAN 360 – CARICOM has pledged not to ease the pressure on the Dominican Republic in response to the country’s immigration crackdown.
But it will only be doing so through diplomatic channels, while allowing the United Nations to take the lead in attempting to resolve the matter that has left thousands of undocumented people of Haitian descent, who were born in the Dominican Republic, stateless.
The declaration was made over the weekend by chairman of the community, Barbados’ Prime Minister Freundel Stuart who stated: “We cannot condone behaviour that, in our view, enshrines barbarity into the constitutional practices of the Dominican Republic.”
“As a community, as a movement, we have to be careful that we do not race ahead of the Haitian government itself because they are on the spot, they know the realities . . . and we, therefore, have to be guided by them,” he said during the press conference held at the end of the CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Barbados during which leaders met with Haitian President Michel Martelly.
“We therefore decided to invoke the assistance of the United Nations, particularly its human rights agencies, and to exert additional pressure through the Organisation of American States and, at the CARICOM level, of course, to continue our diplomatic efforts to bring this very difficult matter under some sort of control.”
The 15-member CARICOM grouping and the Dominican Republic comprise CARIFORUM, which signed an economic partnership agreement with the European Union in 2008.
However, Stuart said this would not be hindrance to the region’s position on the issue.
Discussions have taken place between representatives of the regional body and a high-level Dominican official, but CARICOM said the country did not remain faithful to its promises.