PM Golding Calls for Structured Approach in Dealing with the Free Movement of Caribbean People


Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has declared it improper for any Caricom member state to take a unilateral position in relation to the free movement of Caricom nationals within the region. He says member states should not talk about their sovereignty and their right to do what they consider to be in their national interest, as they are all a part of a Community.
Mr. Golding was adding his voice to the growing immigration debate which dominated the opening of the 30th regular meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom in Georgetown, Guyana yesterday ( July 2). Speaking to journalists during a break of the afternoon session, Mr. Golding said, “We should be responsive and be ready to work with our members in meeting their commitment and to see how much more time is needed or if any rule may have to be sanctioned as it applies in the case of that particular country.”
Prime Minister Golding said that while some Caricom countries may have problems that Jamaica does not have with free movement, smaller countries in particular should not be forced to conform. Instead, they should be able to sit at the table, discuss the problems of each country and try to reach solutions.
He cited the Bahamas, which is not a part of the CSME, as one of the countries that could be faced with a serious immigration challenge because of its proximity to Haiti. Mr. Golding said, “We don’t deny Haitians access to Jamaica but we do have a large number of Haitians who have migrated to Jamaica and it is posing problems for Jamaica. But these are problems that we should come to the table and discuss.”
Barbados’ Prime Minister, David Thompson, has come under fire for his Government’s declaration of its “sovereign rights” to shape and implement its own domestic immigration policy. This involves the deportation of illegal Caricom nationals. At the official opening ceremony, Guyana’s President, Bharrat Jagdeo, said that while countries have a sovereign right to determine their own immigration polices, the maltreatment of Caricom citizens must be roundly deplored. His comments were met with loud applause from several Heads of Government and other persons in attendance.

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