Visa now needed to visit Anguilla
Stabroek News
April 11, 2002

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Dear Editor,

I am an overseas-based Guyanese who is in constant contact with news and other things of interest coming out of Guyana.

During the past two weeks I was disgusted to learn of the treatment of one of my fellow Guyanese at the hands of the Barbados Police. This is, however, only one of the many unreported incidences of abuse that we as a people have had to endure because of our country's current state of economic depression and the continued negative light in which all Guyanese are viewed abroad. Almost everyday I hear horror stories just like this. The frustrating thing though is our lack of collective response. Discrimination is never stopped by simply ignoring it and hoping it will go away. Martin Luther King died for what he believed was right and just. The burning question is what are we willing to do for our rights, both at home and abroad? I personally find very disturbing the recent escalation of incidence of abuse, mistreatment and marginalisation of Guyanese not only by other Caricom nationals but also by other Caricom governments, institutions and businesses.

Attached is a press release issued by the Government of Anguilla that has just crossed by desk. It states that effective December, 2001, nationals of Jamaica and Guyana now require visas to enter Anguilla. It continues as follows: "The Ministry of Home Affairs wishes to advise nationals of Jamaica and Guyana who are presently domiciled in Anguilla that arrangements will be made to facilitate their travel to and from their country of origin.

Nationals of Jamaica and Guyana who hold a valid work permit will be issued with a Visa at the Main Office of the Immigration Department on application prior to their travel.

In addition, nationals of Jamaica and Guyana who are selected by regional and/or international organizations to carry out official business in Anguilla, will be permitted to visit Anguilla following official notification of their nomination.

The revision to the list of countries who (sic) nationals require visas to enter Anguilla will remain in force for an initial period of six (6) months".

This is not only embarrassing but insulting, especially when we stop to consider that the OECS countries will soon be using just an identification card to travel amongst themselves.

Pardon me! but isn't the wider Caricom community moving towards the implementation of free movement of skilled Caricom nationals? Where do these people get off feeling that they can treat a people any way they feel?

I think that it is time we Guyanese begin to speak out. Our fellow Caricom member states have got to know that Guyanese are not second class Caricom citizens and we will not put up with their constant rudeness and other distasteful conduct towards us.

Isn't our Foreign Affairs Ministry functional? How can things like these happen and there is no response from our government? Or are we so accustomed to being treated as scum of the earth that we now believe that we don't deserve any better?

I call on you as a media that reaches a wide audience to lead the charge for change. I also call on all Guyanese at home and all around the world to make a stance. If it means boycotting these countries and their exports so be it. Remember today it's Mr Gaul, tomorrow it may be YOU!

Yours faithfully,

(name and address provided)