Jagdeo rails against second-class treatment of Guyanese at airports

Stabroek News
November 12, 2002

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(Barbados Nation) CARICOM Chairman Bharrat Jagdeo wants airport officials in member states to stop treating Guyanese like second class citizens.

The Guyana president, who was speaking to the media yesterday following a meeting of the CARICOM Bureau in Bridgetown, which was attended by four other heads of government, said what was happening to his countrymen went against the spirit of the Caribbean Community.

He identified Barbados as one of the countries where this discrimination was evident, and noted that horror stories at airports had been reported to him.

Jagdeo said he was even told there was a Guyanese bench at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

The CARICOM chairman said it was unfair to single out Guyanese for such treatment.

³Many of these people do not want to migrate to Barbados. Some of them are very wealthy people but because they are all painted with the same brush, they face this discrimination,” Jagdeo said.

He added that something had to be done about it, and that it would be addressed at the meeting.

A statement will be issued on the bureau meeting specifically addressing the treatment of Guyanese in the region.

Other issues on the packed agenda of the one-day meeting at the office of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy on the 6th floor of the Tom Adams Financial Centre included the creation of a regional stabilisation fund, funding for the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), CARICOM’s 30th anniversary and Carifesta, among others.

The chairman said the regional stabilisation fund, which would give short-term assistance to Dominica, would start with US$80 million and go to US$150 million, but this was not cast in stone, as the Caribbean Development Bank had submitted its report and a technical team was still working on the framework for loan disbursement.

The CCJ, which will operate through a transfer fund of US$100 million would be floated on the international money market.

Jagdeo said the funding was on track for April 2003, and all that was needed now was for all to sign on and implement.

Secretary-general of CARICOM, Edwin Carrington told members of the media that the movement of skilled labour was also being addressed and all that was needed was for the process to be accelerated.

The meeting was also attended by Prime Minister Owen Arthur, Prime Minister Kenny Anthony of St Lucia, Said Musa of Belize and Dominica’s Pierre Charles.

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