Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mockery of CARICOM's Dominican Republic stand?

FOR all the vehement outbursts by the Caribbean Community against the Dominican Republic’s highly controversial new immigration law that has effectively denationalised an estimated 200,000 DR citizens of Haitian descent, Caricom ambassadors to the Organisation of American States (OAS) last month quietly joined in electing the DR’s accredited envoy—Pedro Verges—as new chairman of the hemispheric body’s permanent council.

Why? The official explanation offered is that this election process has evolved as a tradition, the norm, based on a rotation system.

It may well be asked whether Caricom, which directly controls a bloc of 14 votes in the OAS, simply opted to abide by this rotation tradition without bothering about the evident contradiction with the principled position it has been articulating over recent months to cease doing “business as usual” in relation to the DR—unless willingness is shown to revoke the new controversial race-based immigration law.

While the future status of thousands of people of Haitian descent remains in limbo, affecting schooling, the right to work and travel, Caricom and the wider OAS seem to have resigned themselves to simply abiding by an election tradition that clearly mocks their own separate and collective condemnation of the DR’s repulsive new law.

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