Nov 7, 2013 | News, TTCSI in the Media

Call for Caricom action on DR

Thursday, November 7 2013

The Caribbean Community (Caricom) is being urged to postpone any consideration of the Dominican Republic’s (DR) membership request until that country “finds a legislative solution” to the current ban on citizenship to anyone born there, who is of Haitian descent.

“Caricom should state clearly that it will not consider the DR’s application to join until they find a legislative solution to this issue. Caricom should therefore dis-engage the DR from current talks of them joining, until this situation has been satisfactorily resolved.” 

The recommendation came Tuesday evening from the Trinidad and Tobago Coalition of Services Industries’ (TTCSI) chief executive, Nirad Tewarie, during the organisation’s 2013 Excellence in Service Awards function at Hilton Trinidad, St Ann’s. 

“One area where we (TT) have fallen short in lending our voices to our Caricom family is the Dominican Republic-Haiti saga that is playing out before our eyes. The DR constitution was amended in 2010, to deny citizenship to children born to ‘transient’ parents…They may be stripped of their citizenship and left stateless, perhaps trapped in the border zone, without opportunities that are available to citizens.”

Making reference to a recent ruling by the DR’s Constitutional Court, which authorised the government to review records dating as far back as 1929, Tewarie said this could have serious implications for more than 200,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent.

“Citizenship is also about access to services, participation in civic life and contributing to the human resource capital of a territory, especially in the context of the CSME (Caribbean Single Market and Economy).”

Yesterday, a group of masqueraders engaged in a peaceful protest outside the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) in St Clair when they presented a petition calling for Caricom action on the DR ruling, which they described as a “crime”.

They later protested outside the Embassy of the Dominican Republic.

In a release, OPM confirmed Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar received a letter from the Trinidad and Tobago-based masqueraders and consciousness-raising organisation, Jouvay Ayiti, in support of Dominicans of Haitian descent.

“(The Prime Minister) recognises the difficulty and uncertainty that those persons in the Dominican Republic whose status and rights have been cast in doubt now face. Equally, the Prime Minister respects the sovereign independence of the Dominican Republic, and of its Constitutional Court,” OPM stated.

The release added, “The Honourable Prime Minister, in her capacity as current Chair of Caricom will continue to monitor developments in the Dominican Republic, and will consult with the Bureau of Caricom and His Excellency, Irwin LaRocque, Secretary General of Caricom, on the best way forward to seek a solution to the issue.”

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