Former head of the public service Reginald Dumas is calling on Government to deport citizens of the Dominican Republic who may be living here illegally.He was speaking in the wake of the recent decision by the Dominican Republic's highest court which denies citizenship to people of Haitian descent born in that country.Dumas' call was made on the eve of today's meeting of the Caricom Bureau heads, chaired by Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann's, at 10.30 am.
Other members of the bureau expected to attend are President of Haiti Michel Martelly, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Caricom Secretary-General Irwin LaRocque.The meeting was scheduled for last week but postponed to today as several key members were unavailable.
On September 23, the constitutional court of the Dominican Republic ruled that Dequis Pierres, who was born in the DR to Haitian parents, was not entitled to Dominican citizenship on the ground that she had been wrongly registered as Dominican at her birth.The ruling further said its interpretation must be applied retroactively, stripping her of Dominican nationality.
The court also instructed the Dominican authorities to do an audit of birth records from June 21, 1929 to the present to identify similar cases and strip people in similar circumstances of their Dominican nationality.Asked to comment yesterday, Dumas said if there were any Dominican Republic citizens living in T&T illegally, they should be deported immediately.
He said T&T was deporting nationals of a Caricom member nation and possibly allowing citizens from a non-Caricom member state to live here illegally and the application by the Dominican Republic for membership in Caricom should be put on hold, pending clarification of the matter by that country's government or resolution of the matter.He felt sanctions should be considered and implemented in the future if the matter was not amicably resolved in the shortest possible time.
Dumas said the Caricom Bureau should recommend that the Dominican Republic should be suspended from Cariforum – a grouping of Caricom and the Dominican Republic.He also suggested that Caricom could assist the affected people in taking their issues to the Inter-American Human Rights Commission or the United Nations Human Rights Commission.On the recent deportation of 13 Jamaicans from T&T, Dumas said it was nothing new.
He said he wrote to Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran in December last year suggesting that an informal team of officials representing the Government and the private sector should be set up to visit Jamaica and other Caricom states for informal discussions on matters relating to trade, Caribbean Airlines (CAL), regional aviation and transportation and other issues.
Dumas said today's meeting of the bureau should not only look at the Haiti/DR matter but issues of trade, investment and other matters affecting Caricom.