By Ken Richards
BASSETERRE, St Kitts (WINN) -- The lessons from the Shanique Myrie case have not been lost on St Kitts and Nevis, according to Prime Minister Denzil Douglas.
The Jamaican won her discrimination case against the Barbados government at the Caribbean Court of Justice, and was awarded some US$38,000 in damages.
Prime Minister Denzil Douglas
Douglas says Basseterre will be putting in place a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) desk to facilitate the kind of hassle free travel the regional grouping has put in place to benefit Caribbean nationals travelling throughout the region.
“We’ve had a landmark case recently by the Caribbean Court of Justice pertaining to immigration matters within the Caribbean Community. I’m having a meeting … with my attorney general to look at the implications of this particular judgment,” Douglas said on his radio programme Ask The Prime Minister.
He said CARICOM nationals, including Guyanese and Jamaicans resident in St Kitts and Nevis, have rights that must be protected.
“The government therefore has already taken the decision … that we will establish an appropriate desk in the appropriate department to make sure that their matters are being addressed,” Douglas confirmed.
However, Douglas’s motives have been questioned and his statement has prompted Operation Rescue’s Dwyer Astaphan to suggest that Douglas is more interested in getting the votes of Caribbean nationals residing in the federation in the coming general election, than in making a genuine effort to assist these Caribbean nationals.
“But there are Guyanese here, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen years …” Astaphan said, explaining that they are entitled to citizenship after 14 years.
“And they give them the run around, and all of a sudden a desk is going to be set up for them now. Election is coming,” the former national security minister said, questioning the prime minister’s reasons on the matter.
Douglas, on his weekly radio programme, attacked Astaphan’s record when he was a part of the Labour administration, contending that Astaphan, now an anti-Douglas activist, had “continued to deport several Guyanese”.
He accused Astaphan of being a hypocrite.
Astaphan meanwhile, referring to the government’s controversial land for debt swap, is urging citizens and federation-based foreigners eligible to vote, to help defeat Douglas and the governing party at the polls.
Republished with permission of West Indies News Network