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CARICOM accused of foot-dragging on Dominican Republic issue
Published on November 5, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

By Ken Richards

BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- A local MP who is throwing his hat into the ring hoping in the near future to become a head of government, has chastised the Caribbean Community(CARICOM) for moving too slowly on the Dominican Republic statelessness issue.

Dr Timothy Harris
Dr Timothy Harris of Team Unity said the regional grouping should have moved much more speedily after learning of the September 23 constitutional court ruling in Santo Domingo, set to make more than 210,000 Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless.

Harris was asked about the matter on Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture.

“CARICOM is taking a stand belatedly. CARICOM is losing its vitality, the office, the good office of CARICOM in relation to matters of governance is being undermined and is being whittled away,” Harris suggested.

“I draw that parallel to show what is CARICOM’s stance in the context of a motion of no confidence in St Kitts being in abeyance for 11 months – ‘well it’s not a matter in which we engage,’” Harris, who heads the three-party parliamentary group that controls six of the eleven elected seats in the federal parliament, told WINN FM’s The Bigger Picture.

Opposition MPs in Basseterre have repeatedly expressed disappointment that regional groupings CARICOM and the OECS have largely ignored the motion of no confidence issue in St Kitts and Nevis.

Harris said in relation to the Dominican Republic matter that CARICOM had to be pushed into addressing the issue by former Jamaican prime minister PJ Patterson.

“And I am saying that CARICOM must have a mechanism where on its own evaluation it responds quickly to challenge(s) to constitutional and democratic order in member states – Haiti is a member of CARICOM,” Harris said.

However, the assistant secretary general of the Organisation of American States, Albert Ramdin, said CARICOM is playing a critical role in trying to get the statelessness issue resolved.

“And we will continue to engage with the CARICOM Secretariat as well as with the political leadership at this point in CARICOM, on what is the best way forward,” Ramdin told WINN FM.

At an OAS meeting last Wednesday where the Dominican Republic problem was discussed, the permanent representative of St Vincent and the Grenadines, La Celia Prince, spoke on behalf of CARICOM on the matter.

Countries in the region taking a serious look at the Dominican situation include Barbados.

That island’s Pan Africanist and Socialist Organizations have passed a resolution against the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruling to deny citizenship to persons of Haitian decent born in the Dominican Republic.

Republished with permission of West Indies News Network
Reads: 44516

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Paco Smith:

I agree, wholeheartedly, with the sentiments expressed by Dr. Harris.

Within its capacity of being the vehicle and entity which binds its member states together, CARICOM can not afford to drag its feet on this matter.

Kudos to the regional Pan African groups who have spoken out against the unjust ruling by the high court in the D.R.

CARICOM must take a proactive, leadership role in addressing this issue. If not, the criticisms concerning its viability and usefulness will be given greater deference.

This is no time to be "politically correct". It is clear for all to see that the decision by the aforementioned court is unfair and unjust. Definitive measures should have been contemplated and finalised long ago and with each passing day, the credibility of our regional integration vehicle is being called into question.

Although reluctantly, I dare say that due to the lack of apparent impetus to move forward on this particular matter, the criticisms are justified.


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