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Posted by:Jul 15th 2008, 11:16:35 pm

Posted on Sat, Jul. 12, 2008
Anti-immigrant sentiments threaten Caribbean Community economic plan
Callers to the Observer Radio program waste little time letting their hostilities loose.
They complain bitterly about what they see as a spike in crime caused by Guyanese and Jamaicans. They blast ''foreigners'' flooding their schools and hospitals.

In Antigua and other places in the English-speaking Caribbean, anti-immigrant hostilities are rising rapidly as leaders move closer to a 2015 deadline that would allow complete movement of certain people from one island to another.

Caribbean nationals worry that the plan would reduce education, healthcare and other benefits in wealthier islands. There are also concerns that it would reduce jobs and raise housing prices throughout the region.

''It just hurts my heart,'' one perturbed caller said on Observer Radio.

Now, after decades of pushing for total integration and free access throughout the dozens of Caribbean islands, leaders are facing a pressing dilemma while trying to create a single regional economy built around the free movement of skills, labor, goods and services.

Leaders from the 15-member Caribbean Community -- CARICOM, for short -- recently admitted that they may not be able to meet the 2015 deadline for establishing a single economy in the region -- similar to the European Union.

For example, leaders made an agreement last year to grant an automatic six-month stay to nationals entering a member country -- provided there are no security concerns. But only a handful of countries have bothered to comply with their own rule.

Such lack of action has critics questioning the Caribbean leaders' commitment to full integration.

''Given the combative nature of Caribbean politics, regional decisions often become hostage to domestic politics,'' said Anthony Bryan of Miami, a senior associate with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.

``There is no super national authority with enforcement power or power to implement decisions, so CARICOM's decisions are impotent, not implemented or are soon forgotten.''

There is much fear of the unknown, which has bred discrimination and humiliation as some nationals try to visit other countries in the region.

Discussions for a unified Caribbean region began in the 1950s, with the hope that, among other things, such a plan would stem the alarming exodus of educated workers to industrialized nations like the United States.

According to a 2005 World Bank study, more than 80 percent of college-educated workers from Guyana, Jamaica and Haiti emigrate elsewhere to seek a better life.


President Bharrat Jagdeo of Guyana has emerged as one of the most outspoken critics of the intolerance and embarrassment some nationals face when visiting other countries.

''For you to have a single economy, free movement of people is essential,'' Jagdeo said.

Earlier this year, Guyana requested an investigation after immigration officers in oil-rich Trinidad and Tobago refused to allow 15 Guyanese to enter the twin-island nation.

In Barbados, female immigration officials have been accused of turning back attractive Guyanese women out of concern that they will lure away the men on the island.

And in the Bahamas, where tensions against Haitian migrants have constantly run high, government officials decided against joining the free-movement arrangement, citing a concern that Haitians will flood the archipelago seeking to improve their lives.

''One of the most tragic truths is that we treat foreigners better than we treat our own people,'' Jagdeo said, referring to the hospitality shown to non-Caribbean visitors.


But some leaders say it takes time for new laws to catch on and old fears to die out.

''When you pass laws and you make decisions, it takes a little while,'' said Ralph Gonsalves, prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

''All countries experience the problem,'' Gonsalves said.

But some countries -- notably Guyana and Jamaica, because they are among the poorest in the region -- are having the most trouble.

''Let us be honest and call a spade a spade,'' Gonsalves said. ``In a number of countries, people are not so much worried about Vicentians, Dominicans or Antiguans. In part, there are not so many of us.''

To help get around immigration officers, leaders have agreed to issue a CARICOM Travel Card called CARIPASS, which they say will provide hassle-free travel.

''You don't have to go to any immigration officer, so you don't meet any prejudices from any immigration officer,'' Gonsalves said. ``You swipe your card and you go in for your period of time.''

The cards, which would be valid for up to three years, would require prior security clearance and cost about $100.

But while the immigration card is a good start, critics say leaders have sent contradictory messages as they talk of the need to keep skilled individuals in the region.

To succeed with regional integration, Caribbean leaders must overhaul the way they do business, said Bryan, who was born in Trinidad.

Leaders say they are committed to the integration but need more time to prepare.

''As developed as Barbados is, we do not have the capacity to implement freedom of movement fully at this stage,'' Barbados Prime Minister David Thompson said. ``Nor do we have the capacity to absorb everybody who wants to come to Barbados and offer them the standard of living that Barbadians enjoy.''

Critics say such excuses are just a way for leaders to maintain control over whom they allow into the country -- and to win elections.


''There is a cockfight every five years, and politicians go out,'' said George Lamming, a noted Caribbean novelist and intellectual, referring to the election cycle.

``The raison d'tre of being in politics is not the organization of social relations. The raison d'tre is to win that election at all costs.''

Lamming, a visiting professor at Brown University in Rhode Island, holds little hope that a solution will be found soon. It's a job for the next generation to solve, he said.

''The concept of Caribbean as a specific and unique cultural identity has to be planted as a lesson, one with children learning their alphabet, with the toys they use and with the games they play,'' he said.

``It is that form of absolute indoctrination which we need in order to produce, in another 20 or 30 years, the kind of Caribbean people we are.''
Posted by:Jul 15th 2008, 06:23:28 pm
Briland_AmbitionDo i have to go on ? Its depressing and it dnt seem like others are concerned about it but its bothering the locals
Posted by:Jul 15th 2008, 06:21:58 pm
Briland_AmbitionHarbour Island Haitian concerns
The Tribune
Tuesday July 15,2008

(Claims that dangerous infiltration responsible for crime outbreak)

By Lisa Lawlor

A DANGEROUS "Haitian mafia" from Abaco has infiltrated quiet Habour Island and is responsible for and outbreak of criminal behaviour, locals claim.

They say the situation is the result of unchecked illegal immgration, which continues to be a serious problem despite several request for government assistance.

Locals on the small island only three miles long by hald a mile wide say the number of immigrants continures to "multiple uncontrollable." They say the community and the government are the blame.

"We house them, we hide them our women have their children," said Martain "Lee" Grant of Grant's Liquour Store. "As a result, we have major breaking and entering problems. Their stolen goods are sent out in big boxes on (a mailboat)."

Mr Grant said his beloves Briland is now know as "Little Haiti". His renewed complaints come after his protest against illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses and vehicles in July 2007.

Mr Grant and about 20 more concerned citizen went so far as to hold a protest march through the centre of the island, but he says their efforts have largely gone "unnoticed."

"Our main idustry of tourism is affected horribly by Haitian nationals," Mr Grant said. "Tourist can't get firections or anything from them, then they think they're Brilanders that don't know their own home or are unfriendly."

The gathering of Bahamian men outside Grant's Liquour Store all audible agreed. One said: "The Government seems to be turning bline eye" to the small island, "because when the FNM came into government, they promised they would solve all these problem".

Haitians nationals who do not have paper can even be found working in government offices, Mr Grant Claimed.

"There are three Haitian churches now the haitians have overtaken whole streets in Briland. They live about 20 people to a three bedroom residence, with no running water, no toliet, nothing," he said.
Posted by:Jun 30th 2008, 12:50:13 am
Briland_AmbitionIts funny how you ask that cause the answer wold be no! firstly i am not in the US and secoundly if i was in the U.S.A it would be on a Student Visa were as to my Knowledge I could be wrong is Legal So its a huge diffrence in my Opinion I dnt have plans to go there by boat witout all of my legal document (I know that for sure)

I Still Reside in the Bahamas Was that a question to imply something Yazoomoon

Answer me this one question what i'm posting is it understandable are my view being taken Lightly?
Posted by:Jun 29th 2008, 08:53:54 pm
yazoomoonBriland_Ambition aren't you in the USA illegally too???
Posted by:Jun 29th 2008, 08:19:55 pm
KimberlyI hear you on limits, but I see similar infrastructure issues on the island with regard to businesses, second homes, hotels, marinas and the like. Until we put a local government in place that can take a hands on approach to the town planning and infrastructure (water and energy) needed to make certain that Dunmore Town doesn't implode into the ocean, illegal immigration just isn't is as much of a flashpoint for me. As any Brilander will tell you, there are easily three jobs available for every man and woman willing to work ... Haitians picking up the pieces of a successful job market works for me. We're lucky that we don't have the same tensions as those in Nassau and Abaco. And as for school overcrowding, Bahamians have been making babies right and left since the 1960s, and I don't see Ministry of Education making much in the way of planning for native-born Brilanders, much less expat kids. Much to talk about, focus on and fix, indeed.

Posted by:Jun 29th 2008, 07:50:01 pm
Briland_AmbitionI understand where your coming from but we all no Harbour Island is a small commnity, and if it keeps getting over populated the native then get aggravted, then its becomes bigger problem. I'm not saying (as well as I would never say) that Immagrants (haitians) arent itelligent individuals, I'm just saying if the Island get over populated What would the native do ? Were would the fuure of Lil Harbour Island end up? Would the natives then run out of Jobs? Will they Dominate the Islands?. These are the thing i'm looking at as well as the future of the Island. What happens if we have 20 immagrants who have one baby each and they all enter the grade one class? how much space is there for the natives. I'm not saying anything negative towards them cause there ppl with feeling and goals as well just that we have to stand our grounds not allowing person to come in and do what they want (Take over our island). Most of them when they become adjusted to the Island life (Freedom)they gain this Authoritative Attitude towards the natives0. And like I said before Thats!!!! where i have the problem. Even thought I feel like they should have an opportunity to migrate in search for a better life, But if it continues where do it leave us as Bahamians? THERE SHOULD BE A LIMIT WITH EVERYTHING!

I conclude by saying Yes! they should have the chance to seek a better living but What should be the Limit? or Should there be a Limit? remeber what we allow to happen now affects us later in the future be it 10-20 years from now, we still still have to look out for the intrest of Our Island! My Island (Harbour Island).
Posted by:Jun 29th 2008, 02:25:38 pm
KimberlyI dunno ... Iris Lewis (Shells n' Tings) and I have had the opportunity to work with several young artists from the local Haitian community during the periodic Briland ArtsWalk events, and all have been thoughtful, intelligent, organized, hard-working representatives of their group.
Posted by:Jun 28th 2008, 12:10:15 am
kitchi"The Haitians even do their work with a smile."

I think that's the older generation. Even here in the US the older haitians are nicer.

I'd say the ones 25-30 have SERIOUS attitude problems.
In the US but ESPECIALLY Briland.
Posted by:Jun 25th 2008, 10:59:24 pm
Briland_AmbitionI'm Not being prejudice and definatley not the type to tear down anyone, what i am saying is its a difference when you have them and when the island is over populated by Immgrants prejudice i'm not i can gaurantee that.I can also agree with the serving with a smile they are all valid points but if i have to really just give it how it is some of them dnt respect bahamainas like they would respect Americans and i dont wonna make it a prejudice converstation but thats how the cookie crumbles so we see things from different angles,they consider Bahamaians to be stupid & ignorant so they would try come and over power the Bahamians or the Briland Population.

All i'm trying to find is is how is the situation going give fair where fear is Right where Right Should be and Reality where it needed.

In Gods Eyes No Man/Women is classed with a race, we are all equal and we would all be judged and it wont be by the color of our skin.

When living in Harbour Island some of my neighbours where Haitians and i worked & Communicate with some of them and never had a problem with them.
Posted by:Jun 25th 2008, 05:16:25 pm
KimberlyI am now in my late 40s, and Haitians were an important part of my childhood. The Haitian economy was imploded back in the 1940s, so we're not talking about a new development in the job pecking order in Briland ... I have a sneaking suspicion that because the national picture isn't very optimistic, we're just looking for a convenient scapegoat. Why don't we focus on our own contributions to the development discussion, rather than tearing down the most vulnerable members of the community?
Posted by:Jun 25th 2008, 03:26:44 pm
kristiI probably shouldn't post because I don't like it when people talk about other people especially the haitians. I never felt prejudice when growing up on Harbour Island but there is so much of it now. Yes there are haitians working the jobs that the natives don't want to do. If you even got the chance to talk to these people, many of them have college degrees (not the case with Brilanders) but couldn't find a job in Haiti or lost it. You know what - they do the gardening jobs that no other native will do because the natives are too good for that type of work. The haitians even do their work with a smile. That is something you don't find in every hotel on Harbour Island. Sometimes one feels that you are bothering the waitress or bartender when you order something. Should I go on because I'm on a roll....(sorry mom, I know you hate it when I do this)
Posted by:Jun 25th 2008, 12:50:34 pm
kitchiUglyAmerican, They're not contributing as much as you think. They're cheap labor , so Bahamians hire them and so do Hotels. You'd they the money the hatians make would go back to the country, but no. They send it to they're families in Haiti and and they're Families in the US. They've taken to saving their money for shopping in the US as well.

They also work for less wages than Natives are willing to stoop to, so the natives are out of jobs (but this is the case in any country). Bahamians employers (professional or otherwise) also know haitians are cheap labor, and sometimes look for them when they need work done. I'm not saying Bahamians don't work on houses or clean yards, but look how much more hatians are doing those jobs.

The only thing stopping them from entering the tourism industry as waiters and bartenders is their inability to speak acceptable English.
-But they're already there in the hotels washing dishes and sweeping. It's their kids born in the Bahamas without Haitian accents that are making more money then the parents.

But I guess another problem is no one does anything.
All they do is talk and when the situation gets out of hand, look for someone to blame.
Posted by:Jun 23rd 2008, 09:20:46 am
BrilandkidGuess I bess brush upon my bahamian accent befor dey deport me to alaska or siberria.
Mass Migration Warning - Worsening conditions spawned by escalating oil and food costs and a deteriorating economic climate in Haiti are likely to cause a further exodus of illegal immigrants through The Bahamas, State Minister for Immigration Elma Campbell has warned.
Posted by:Jun 22nd 2008, 12:08:09 pm
BrilandkidBahamas customs in Freeport question the reason for me in Freeport at the Docks while clearing goods requested I show a work permit or be deported. I wonder where they will send me???? Briland huh. Of course I told them to go suck an egg. 60% of Freeport is immigrants even some of those customs and immigration officers. Turks and cacios Haiti and elsewhere. What joke is this my Bahamas or????
Posted by:Jun 21st 2008, 11:04:11 pm
Briland_AmbitionI secound that EMOTION
Posted by:Jun 21st 2008, 11:09:38 am
ash12ileagal imagrants is what i have a problem with B.A,,,you,re point is well taken though
Posted by:Jun 21st 2008, 11:01:20 am
ash12i know alot of property manager,s including ben bethel,. who also is my friend family and neighbour who live,s directly across the road from my home.both ben and myself share alot of knowledge together about gardening.i know,ve individuals who has maybe one or two yards that they manage, it goe,s to show that he is one of or thee best at what he does meaning yard work,landscaping or gardening. just the other day he said he started out with just one lawnmower. i know,ve other property managers bahamian and foreigners who have ileagal imigrants working in yards or doing any other type of labouring that bahamians can do(thats the real issue in my veiw)
Posted by:Jun 21st 2008, 12:08:03 am
KimberlyBen Bethel is by no means a gardener ... he is a property manager with eleven houses under his care. He does, however, manage several excellent Haitian landscapers that work with him on his properties, including the inestimable Josie D'arville who works a number of them. Who has his legal papers ;-).
Posted by:Jun 20th 2008, 11:03:22 pm
Briland_AmbitionThats how it ash12 I'm not sayin to rid the Island of immagrants but the majority of them i run into try to run persons from there own Island that when i have a problem.Immagrnats (Haitians) are some of the best workers but they are becoming overated and those who dnt see it as a problem needs to re-evaluate the situation

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