Barbados denies anti-Caricom stance

Barbados denies anti-Caricom stance

Thursday, March 05, 2015

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados Government has defended allegations that the island does not welcome citizens from other Caribbean Community (Caricom) countries, insisting that it had deported a "very small percentage" of people.

"We hear very often about the number of people we deport from this country because they have overstayed their time. The numbers only sound high when you look at them by themselves," said Darcy Boyce, who has responsibility for Immigration .

He told the Senate that approved the Immigration (Amendment) Bill 2014 that in 2013, Barbados deported 176 people.

"However, we had 1.4 million arrivals that year. So that the number that we deported was actually a very, very small percentage, less than one per cent," he told legislators.

Opposition legislator Wilfred Abrahams, said the island had acquired a reputation for being "anti-foreigner".

Abrahams, an attorney, said that there was a widespread feeling in the region that Barbados did not value other Caricom nationals.

"... The Jamaicans think we are anti-Jamaican; the Guyanese think we are anti-Guyanese; the Trinidadians think we are anti-Trinidadian.

"Across the Caribbean, there is a feeling that Barbadians are anti-foreigners," Abrahams said, reminding legislators that most of the emerging economies of the world were built on migrant labour.

But Boyce said that figure show that only one in every 1,000 people were prevented from entering the island.

"I have to say that because people have this impression that the Immigration Department is there looking to round up Caricom people and sending them back out. We do not have the resources or the inclination to carry out such an operation.

"We benefit from the interaction of Caricom nationals in Barbados. Some of them fill very key jobs in our country; they enrich our culture," he said.

"If you speak about the Guyanese, 55 of them were stopped in 2013 out of 16,600, once again less than half of one per cent. When you look at the case of the Jamaicans, 50 were not allowed to land out of 10,800 people, once again less than half of one per cent," he added.

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