New Barbados Gov’t abolishes visa requirements for Haitians

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New Barbados Gov’t abolishes visa requirements for Haitians
Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson
Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson

(BARBADOS TODAY) – The newly elected Mia Mottley-led administration has abolished the “illegal” visa requirement for Haitian nationals entering Barbados.

Telling Barbados TODAY on Monday evening he was shocked when he learned over the weekend that such a requirement was in place, Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson said with Haiti being a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), there was no logical reason to impose visa requirements on its citizens.

“It should not have been on in the first place. I was shocked to learn that on Saturday,” Hinkson said.

“That is clear law . . . that was absolutely incorrect. If Haiti is a member of CARICOM and the Treaty of Chaguaramas speaks to non-discrimination and equal treatment, how can you have put on visa requirements on Haitians? Why do we do this to our own people?”

Hinkson also revealed that his ministry was in the process of preparing a white paper on immigration with a view to deepening the integration movement and this country’s relationship with the rest of the region.

“We are going to look clearly at reforming the immigration legislation of Barbados as well as the policies of it. Clearly our Immigration Act is outdated,” he said, going on to make reference to a section of the legislation which bars “imbeciles and mentally and physically handicapped persons” from entering the country.

“We have been mandated to look at that. I mean, you would have heard Prime Minister [of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph] Gonsalves was reported in the press about two weekends ago as saying that Barbados and Trinidad are the worse culprits in terms of offending . . . the Treaty of Chaguaramas in terms of how we treat CARICOM nationals. We have to look at all of that,” the Minister of Home Affairs said.

He insisted that Barbados ought to respect the regional conventions and treaties that it has signed, while stressing that with CARICOM being the only region in the world with which Barbados has a trade surplus of over 50 per cent, it was important that the island addresses its relationship with the rest of the Caribbean.

Hinkson also argued that Barbados must play a leadership role in CARICOM, especially since it has lead responsibility for the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

“Unfortunately, over the past ten years of Democratic Labour Party administration, relations with intra-Caribbean declined when they should have gone forward. After the 2007 [cricket] World Cup we had tremendous cooperation in terms of travel between CARICOM countries for CARICOM nationals

“Clearly we have a duty as Barbadians to the Caribbean to now advance relations with CARICOM nationals. Clearly our immigration policies and legislation have to be part of that reform,” the minister said.

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25 COMMENTS

  1. Post Correction.. I agree that Barbados's crippling debt is a top priority for its citizens, not the Haitian visa policy. However, Madam Prime Minister should have announced the new visa policy. So the question is, was the Ministry of Home Affairs simply justification for its existence with this policy change?

    Barbadians should stop their "wait and see attitudes" and call upon the Mia's new government to cut, not increase its cabinet, and resend not suspend it cabinet's pay increases voted in by the previous government. The new government should be showing the people its ability to do more with less, and showing its is serious about doing its part in reducing the country's crippling debt.

    Nevertheless, it is clear that the Haitian visa requirement did not protect Barbados from its economic problems.

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  2. This is not a good move Government. There are repercussions for every action. Government should definitely have made such a move for the people to vote on in the name of transparency. I don't see how integration further with Barbados and Haiti helps our current economy.

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    • Agreed. I don't like like that country.. N things they practice.. Then to invoke them into this one.. Things are bad enough.. That's a bad move..

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      • I agree that Barbados's crippling debt is a top priority for its citizens and not the change visa policy. Madam Prime minister should have announced the visa removal policy herself. So, was the Ministry of Home Affairs simply justifying its worth with this announcement?

        Barbadian should stop the wait and see attitude and call on the new government to cut not increase its cabinet, to cut not increase or suspend their pay increases. Mia should be showing the people her ability to do more with less, and that her new government is serious about doing its part in reducing the country's crippling debt.

        Nevertheless, it is clear that the Haitian visa requirement did not protect Barbados from its economic problems.

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      • I am haitian and have many friends from different parts of the carribean and I love them all. I see them as my brothers and sisters, I cannot imagine how blacks people hating on each others. It is clearly the mentality of the white masters. Hope one day, you will find out who you are! As far as the gentleman who referred to our women gave aids to the sugar canes men..... Ignorance as no price!

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  3. There are no direct passenger flights from Haiti to Barbados. This means that a passport holding Haitian national would need to fly to a third country and be subject to their own immigration and visa requirements before moving on to Barbados. Did you know that Kenyans also have visa free access to Barbados? There are no direct flights from Kenya to Barbados.

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  4. We need yet another bridge to help us overcome our self hate. The time has come for Caribbean National Holiday/s in celebration of our common roots and struggles, our courage and solidarity. Let's get this out to our people.

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  5. Good move, long overdue. However, can't stand the SVG PM always talking down to Barbados as if Jesus left him in charge prior to His crucifixion at Calvary

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  6. Barbados Should have had Visa restrictions On Guyanese and Jamaicans. Dem two mushing up the Bajans nice island with Drugs and prostitution. OMG. I saw first hand why Bajans dislike dem people.

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  7. Perhaps this inclusion of Haiti will allow for better support and a coordinsted effort to assist that island.

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  8. Haiti has the second highest instance of HIV adult prevalence in CARICOM at 2.10% (2016 est.) after The Bahamas 3.3% (2016 est.) with Belize 1.80% and Jamaica 1.70% following close behind. In fact every CARICOM nation including Barbados 1.30% is within the range of African prevalence of HIV. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle black.

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    • Agreed. I don't like like that country.. N things they practice.. Then to invoke them into this one.. Things are bad enough.. That's a bad move.. She need to rethink that Abolisment,.. Supposed they let someone in with virus.. OMG.. These days u don't know who has it..

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      • Nikki. I found your comments to be very ignorant not to say hearthless may the Lord forgive you for your attitude toward us.

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        • We as carribean folks migrate to other countries too.so its important that we are not prejudice.even though as a Jamaican .bajan friends do have the sovereign right to be concerned

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  9. "Do u know how high the HIV rate in Haiti is? The highest in western hemisphere. thats right on par with Africa." FALSE...

    https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/countries-with-the-highest-rates-of-hiv-aids.html

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  10. really? this is stupid. St lucia better dont do the same. I am as pro caribbean as anyone but one has to think of our interest. Do u know how high the HIV rate in Haiti is? The highest in western hemisphere. thats right on par with Africa. Allowing unfettered access to your nationals by this group will expose your population to health risks in the long term as they mingle with the locals. This is a hard fact that we must face. I recall someone from another Caribbean island saying while working in a medical setting in some other island that most of the pregnant ones who came to the hospital, had HIV. and that was about 10 years ago. the situation has not changed. Am not being biased , even if it may sound so. I am just being real. Please keep visas and let that barbados woman stew in her misguided policies. we cant afford anti-viral drugs for most of our affected population, so we cant allow stupid decisions to have a possible effect on us. Ask the cane men from the 80's who worked in the neighbouring island who died from this thing in the early 1990's and late 80's where they got it from when cutting cane in a nearby island. it was from the loose women from that area. Sorry but the truth must be told, even when its not popular.

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    • You already know you're a bigot hence why you must remain anonymous.

      Your small island mentality is why you will forever remain stuck in the rut.

      Welcome to Barbados, Ayiti. Sorry it took this long to remove.. and that it happened in the first place.

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    • You're an idiot racist bastard If you don't have anything good to say keep your blasted mouth shut ☹☹ Haiti fought for the whole Caribbean to gain freedom.

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  11. Smart move. With the cost of labour so high in Barbados, allowing Haitians in will ultimately lead the cost of labour downwards for awhile and hopefully will rationalize the crazy salaries that workers in that small economy are used to and which drives up inflation.

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