January 12, 2012

Antigua minister calls for crackdown on illegal aliens

ST JOHN’S — Minister of National Security Labour Dr Errol Cort has called for a clamp down on illegal aliens working in various sectors of the economy.

Cort said the Labour Department must play its role in ensuring that residents with the legal right to work on island are not disadvantaged by immigrants who skirt the law.

He pinpointed the construction sector as a particular area of concern in this regard.

“I continue to receive complaints in respect of persons working illegally, primarily at various construction sites. These are issues that the Labour Department will have to be very aggressive to ensure that persons who are working out there, especially in those critical sectors, are persons who are lawfully entitled to work,” Cort said.

The minister of labour said the department needs to ensure that persons have the requisite documentation to allow them to be legally involved in gainful employment.

“Where it is found where those individuals are not lawfully authorised to engage in employment, the appropriate action needs to be taken in that regard,” Dr Cort said. (Antigua Observer)

(Source - http://news.barbadostoday.bb/barticlenew.php?ptitle=Antigua%20minister%20calls%20for%20crackdown%20on%20illegal%20aliens&article=13415)

Caribbean islands crack down on illegal immigrants


Thursday January 12 2012 Boston Sun

TOA BAJA, Puerto Rico – First, riot police raided the slum with batons and pepper spray. Then authorities shut off the water and electricity. With an eviction order pending in the courts, police stand sentry outside the shacks belonging mostly to Dominican migrants.

The Puerto Rican government says it's trying to clear a dangerous flood zone in Villas del Sol, a shantytown just west of the capital of San Juan. But residents say the show of force targets foreign laborers as Puerto Rico's unemployment rate tops 16 percent.

As jobs vanish in the global financial crisis, Caribbean governments are cracking down on undocumented migrants seeking work. The increased enforcement highlights deep economic divisions in a region where poor Dominicans, Haitians and Jamaicans seek better lives on more affluent islands such as the Bahamas, Antigua and Barbados.

And it's causing rifts among island governments, with some accusing others of violating the cooperation the region is trying to build.

"They want to scare us away," said Bianely Gonzalez, 32, a Dominican who came to Puerto Rico a decade ago on a homemade wooden boat and lives in a one-room, cinderblock home.

In the U.S. Caribbean territories and Florida, which are the biggest immigrant draw, deportations have nearly doubled from 7,176 in fiscal year 2006 to 13,622 last year.

The jump comes from a nationwide U.S. campaign to deport illegal immigrants with outstanding criminal warrants, said Ivan Ortiz, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in San Juan.

He agreed that enforcement is partly due to the softening American economy, but wouldn't elaborate.

Other islands couldn't provide similar deportation numbers. But the financial crisis has pummeled the islands' tourism-dependent economies, forcing hotels to close or cut back on staff. Tourist visits this year are down 9 percent in Barbados, 13 percent in the twin-island nation of Antigua and Barbuda and 15 percent in the Bahamas, according to statistics from the Caribbean Tourism Organization.

Read full article here.

January 11, 2012

Shanique Myrie sues Barbadian Government


Posted on 07 January 2012 by Bajan Sun Online
THE JAMAICAN woman who is accusing Barbadian officials of cruel and vulgar cavity search at the Grantley Adams International Airport on March 14 last year has filed a suit in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
The case, which is said to be the first of its kind before the CCJ, will be asking the court to determine a critical issue which will be used as a precedent.
Shanique Myrie, 22, who is being represented by the law firm HyltonBrown is asking the court, in the suit filed yesterday, to determine what is the minimum standard of treatment to be given to CARICOM nationals moving within the region under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and its goal of hassle-free travel.
Degrading treatment
Myrie is alleging that degrading treatment was meted out to her at the hands of Barbadian border officials at the airport.
The law firm had allowed sufficient time for both the Jamaican and the Barbadian governments to attempt to settle the issue. When a settlement was not reached, the firm obtained leave from the Jamaican Government to file the action. The firm, before filing the suit, had made attempts to engage the Barbadian government in discussions but to no avail.
Jamaican attorneys-at-law Anthony Hylton and Michelle Brown from the firm will be arguing the case for Myrie.
In a news release issued yesterday, the law firm disclosed that the case would set the precedent for how persons move throughout the region.

Are immigrants taking jobs from British youth or not?

THREE reports this week have presented three different views on whether there is a link between immigration and unemployment in Britain. A report by Migrationwatch suggested there was a correlation between the influx of workers from Eastern Europe since 2004 and a rise in UK youth unemployment. This was followed by the National Institute for Economic and Social Research report which said there was no significant impact from immigration on jobless benefit claimants. Then a Home Office-commissioned Migration Advisory Committee (Mac) report found an "association" between non-EU immigration and job losses among those born in Britain. So who is right?

Comparing apples and oranges

It's possible they are all right, says Danny Shaw on BBC News. They all looked at slightly different things. The Mac report is “the most persuasive” because it draws on in-depth analysis and research and “it just makes sense”. It argues the effects of non-EU migration are most keenly felt in the economic bad times, when vacancies are scarce, and in the short-term, before the labour market has time to adjust.

Why not link economic growth to penis size?

You could be forgiven for thinking that Migrationwatch’s new report was a smoking gun against immigration, says Sam Bowman in The Spectator. But a closer look quickly reveals “how implausible these claims are”. The report centres on a comparison of rising youth unemployment and rising immigration.

Read full article here.

December 14, 2011

Diaspora, Migration and Development in the Caribbean by Keith Nurse


Although this paper was written in 2004, its content is still relevant and useful for those researching Caribbean migration. The paper was published by FOCAL, the Canadian Foundation for the Americas.


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The paper examines the developmental impact of the growth of the diasporic economy on Caribbean
territories like Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti and the Anglophone Caribbean. It focuses on issues like
remittances, diasporic exports, brain drain, as well as the new health and security risks associated with
migration and mobile populations. The key areas of benefit and cost are evaluated and an assessment is
given of emerging challenges and opportunities. The paper concludes that the policy dialogue should
move beyond the remittances issue to take into account wider developmental concerns.

Go to this link for the full paper: http://www.focal.ca/pdf/migration_Nurse_diaspora%20migration%20development%20Caribbean_September%202004_FPP-04-6.pdf

Senegalese Immigrants murdered in Florence


A gunman opened fire in the southern Italian city of Florence, killing two Senegalese immigrants and wounding another two.

The gunman has been linked to a far-right group, which has disassociated itself from the killings.

Correspondents say Florence is considered one of Italy's calmer and more tolerant cities.

A Senegalese man who lives and works in Florence tells the BBC how he feels following the attack.

The shooting on Tuesday - when two of our Senegalese brothers were killed and another two wounded - has come as a shock to all of us and we are all very scared.


The shooting has shocked Africans in Florence
Senegalese traders are often the victims of racial abuse.

On the streets, people will call them names, accuse them of "stealing" the jobs of Italians and will tell them to go home.

My own impression is that the abuse has increased in recent years because of the economic crisis in Italy. People are more worried about jobs and are taking out their anger on Africans.

Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

People have come up to us on the streets to sympathise and to show solidarity”

But I don't know why the gunman opened fire, killing the two vendors. Was it racial or was there another motive? We will find out once there is a thorough investigation.

I don't remember such a gun attack on Africans in the 10 years that I have been here - and it does make us all feel alienated and threatened. We are a fairly large community of Senegalese and Africans here.

Fortunately, most Italians have condemned the shooting and there is a national outpouring of grief. Here in Florence, people have come up to us on the streets to sympathise and to show solidarity.

I did not know the two traders who were killed by the gunman, but I used to see them around - selling goods on pavements or at social and religious gatherings of the Senegalese community.

Most Senegalese people who come to Italy start life as street traders. They buy goods from Chinese-owned shops and sell them on the streets.

'Anxious'
Continue reading the main story

Start Quote

How can he a person who is born and brought up in Italy not qualify for Italian citizenship?”

It's what I also did when I first came to Italy 10 years ago. I came here legally, but did not have the necessary documents to work.

When I finally got them, I got a job as a factory worker.

Now, I am a foreman at the factory. It is good to have a stable job and income, making it easier to support my family.

But it is very difficult to become an Italian national.

My son, who is just one year old, was born in Italy, but he is still regarded as a Senegalese citizen.

This is very unfortunate. How can he a person who is born and brought up in Italy not qualify for Italian citizenship? How can social integration become easier when we are treated like foreigners?

I don't know whether my son has a future here - and I have become more anxious after what happened on Tuesday.

It may be better for him to go and live in Senegal, but we'll see what happens."

Original story here at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-16177877

Right now, our thoughts are with the families of the two people killed. Their bodies are going to be taken to Senegal for burial. I don't think there is a cemetery for Muslims in Florence.

October 12, 2011

Alabama parents prepare for the worst: separation from their kids


Hundreds of parents in Alabama who fear being rounded up at any time and jailed or deported under the state's draconian new immigration law are making legal arrangements to have their children placed in the care of relatives or friends.

Lawyers working with Hispanic communities throughout Alabama report a huge surge in recent days in approaches from Hispanic families so desperate about the threat posed by the new law that they are preparing for the worst: sudden separation from their own children. They are drawing up power of attorney letters – documents usually applied to property or business assets, but in Alabama almost exclusively now used for the safe keeping of children.

"This is a real human rights crisis," said Linton Joaquin of the National Immigration Law Center. "There's widespread panic, and though parents don't want to abandon their children they are seeking guardianships for them."

Shay Farley, legal director of a collective of Alabama lawyers called Appleseed, says they have already drawn up more than 200 power of attorney papers in just one town, Tuscaloosa. A similar clamour for legal help is reported across the state.

Read full article here.

An example of how migration might kick-start growth - for the Greeks


The Price of Austerity (BBC World Service)
CGD Experts

Michael Clemens

Oct 11, 2011


Senior fellow Michael Clemens was interviewed by the BBC World Service on the economic benefits of migration.
From the interview
The voices of ordinary Greeks - those struggling to hold things together in these difficult times - are not normally heard.
Coverage of Greece's economic problems is all too often dominated by images of ferocious riots and striking workers.
There is no question that wave after wave of wage-cuts and tax rises have generated a lot of anger, but the truth is that most Greeks haven't taken to the streets.
So, as the austerity measures bite ever deeper, how are these people being affected? The BBC's Europe Business Correspondent Nigel Cassidy reports from Athens.
Plus, what Greece and the other economies of the eurozone really need is economic growth to raise incomes and tax revenues and - the hope is - to begin to erode away those vast deficits.
Unfortunately most are experiencing - at best - stagnation.
So what could kick start growth? A recent survey by the American economist Michael Clemens of the Centre for Global Development suggests one answer could be migration. He concludes that the economic gains from freer migration would dwarf the gains from, say, freer trade - so long as the benefits to the migrants are included.
Justin Rowlatt asked him why migration can bring such big economic benefits.

Listen to it here at the link below.

See source

October 4, 2011

Diasporic Tourism & Investment in the Caribbean



The survey, conducted by the Shridath Ramphal Centre for International Trade Law, Policy and Services (SRC) of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies, discovered some very interesting findings regarding the economic contribution of the Caribbean diaspora to the region's leading industry.

"We are confident that this report will put into perspective in a tangible way what the impact of the diaspora is. All these times it has been conjecture, we know the numbers are there, but have not been able to qualify or quantify the impact," said Irwin Clare, managing director, Caribbean Immigrant Services, New York.

"This should direct the resources, not just dollars and cents, but the full gamut of how you market and sell to this community," he argued, adding that there has been no clear marketing strategy for this community.

To see more on this report visit:
http://www.shridathramphalcentre.org/images/stories/news/2011/CTO_Caribbean_Week_Diaspora_Forum_DT_KEY_FINDINGS3.pdf

September 28, 2011

Guild Week hosts cultural event to eliminate rift between local and non-national students at UWI, Cave Hill


SAT, SEPTEMBER 24, 2011 - 12:00 AM. Barbados Nation Newspaper

THE TALENT was as diverse as the nationalities of the students when the inaugural Carimagination Day took place at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies recently.

The event, one of the activities of Guild Week, took place in an intimate setting where the stage was set for a number of local artistes to express their creativity through the arts.

Humanities and Education representative Donnya Piggott said the aim of the event was to eliminate the rift between local and non-national students, one of the mandates of the university’s guild.

Piggott, who organised the event, added: “We don’t promote Barbadian talent here and through this event we also wanted to do that.

“The university has been lacking culture and so we decided to cut down on the fetes and increase cultural activities.”

As a result, numerous spoken-word pieces were performed by both local and non-national guest artistes, including Christina Katrina; Daveny Ellis; Sonia, who is a student from Toronto; Sam Pollard, Simply L and social commentator Adrian Greene, who highlighted a variety of issues stemming from political, economic and social concerns.

The delivery of the performances grabbed and kept the attention of the audience, which consisted mainly of regional students.

British Virgin Islands student Jevaughn Rhymer praised organizers for a good show but suggested “it should be more open to performances and not a set programme”.

Anthony Turton, 28, said the event was the first he had ever attended with “this kind of local talent and it was good”.

“The show was well organized and it exposed Barbadian talent and that is good for the young artistes. I believe more of these shows should be held to heighten the awareness of the public to these artistes,” Turton said.

Other guest performances were delivered by Kid Site, who revisited a number of his classics, Cave Hill Music Society, Toni Dyall, Marcus Miles, Matthew Allman, AzMan and Sunrokk, all of whom brought the curtain down on a commendable note. (TD)

September 26, 2011

We can and must speak up.


By Anthony Morgan

A Jamaican who was born and raised in Toronto, Canada, Anthony Morgan is a Caribbean law student at McGill University, Faculty of Law. He enjoys thinking and writing about Caribbean international relations, relating specifically to diaspora affairs, regional integration, international trade and Haiti-Caricom relations.

My name is Anthony Morgan, I am a 25-year-old Jamaican, born and raised in Toronto, Canada. I am currently in my final year of law school at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. I will begin by sharing with you a bit about who I am, so that I can best explain how my identity as a diaspora citizen has affected my reaction to a very intolerable incident I experienced on a Montreal university campus on September 14, 2011.

First, some background. Before the summer of 2007 I was just another Black Canadian. During that summer, however, I was fundamentally transformed into a Caribbean-Canadian Diaspora Citizen. This came as a result of my participation in Grace Kennedy’s Jamaican Birthright Programme (GKJBP). The GKJBP is a world-class cultural and professional internship for students of Jamaican heritage who were born and living in the US, UK and Canada. For this programme, students from the diaspora are chosen to go live and work in Kingston, Jamaica to boost their professional skills and experience, and also help them more deeply connect with their Jamaican roots and culture.
Before taking part in the GKJBP, I was merely incidentally Jamaican, mostly identifying at a superficial level through our music, food and manners of worship. My amazing birthright experience, however, transformed me into not only a Jamaican nationalist but also a Caribbean regionalist.

As a result of my participation in the GKJBP, I have become committed to a journey of learning ever more about Jamaica and the Caribbean, particularly in relation to our history, as well as our current position in the global arena of geopolitics, trade and development. This journey has also caused me to become increasingly influenced by a Caribbean intellectual heritage emanating from the thoughts, lives and works of individuals such as Marcus Garvey, Walter Rodney, CLR James, Eric Williams, George Beckford, Lloyd Best and contemporaries, such as Kari Levitt, Norman Girvan, Anthony Bogues and Brian Meeks.

Read full article here.

September 23, 2011

China to support the Caribbean - David Jessop


By David Jessop

News Americas, LONDON, England, Fri. Sept. 23, 2011: Two separate developments in the last week, both involving China, demonstrates the fundamental ways in which international relationships are changing.

The first involved China subtly suggesting that it might provide financial support for Eurozone economies in difficulty. The second was the announcement at the opening of the Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum in Port of Spain that Beijing would make available over US$1billion in loans and other assistance for Caribbean economic development projects.

In Europe many economies are in trouble. Greece, Italy, Spain Portugal, Ireland and United Kingdom have had to take drastic action to address high levels of debt and low growth. However, the markets have not been convinced that some of the Governments concerned will be able to institute the tough austerity measures they have announced. This is particularly so in the case of Greece and Italy where special pleading by powerful interest groups has caused Government to back track on measures already announced, creating uncertainty about whether the nations concerned might default.

As these nations are within the Eurozone, this has had the effect of raising questions about the whole European integration process. In economically strong and fiscally correct nations at the heart of the Eurozone like Germany, domestic political pressure is making nations reluctant to provide further financial support for those EU states that seem incapable of bringing their economies under control. Somewhat over simplified, the effect is that if economically strong nations are unwilling to bail out weak Eurozone economies, the Eurozone, and by extension the European Union, is unlikely to survive in its present form.

Read full article here.

September 21, 2011

Are the provisions for free movement under the treaty discriminatory?


Free labour movement
Dennis De Peiza

2011-08-31

The advent of the free movement of labour under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy brought great hope for nationals of member states, as they welcomed and embraced the opportunity to traverse the region in search of employment opportunities.

It is clear that there was a good intention on the part of heads of government to give licence to the movement of labour as a means of positioning the region to strengthen and develop its economic potential.

All indicators point to the fact that this could be achieved through the sharing and utilising of skills and talents of the region’s human resources. This apparently holds true, given the fact that the free movement of persons is said to underpin all other key pillars of the CSME, except the free movement of goods.

Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas states: “Member states commit themselves to the goal to the free movement of their nationals within the community.” This, to all intents and purposes, seems to be ideal, but it is questionable whether the goal is being achieved.

The movement of people is enshrined in articles 32, 33, 34, 36, 37, 45 and 46 of Chapter Three of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. As it stands, the unrestricted movement is limited to university graduates, media workers, sports persons, artistes and musicians.

The free movement of skills and labour meant that work permits were eliminated. With this being the case, it can be argued that there would have been a relaxing of the regulatory procedures to facilitate the ease of movement. It is however understandable why there is yet the need to have some regulatory mechanism (s) in place to guard against those who have malicious and illegal intentions.

Read full article here.

September 20, 2011

Travelling Show Project / Proyecto Zapato Viajero



We have all been historically affected by migration and each in different ways. With this project I invite people to share their
shoes as statements of where they have been and where they are going thus sharing movement and walking in each
other's footsteps...

Hemos sido históricamente afectados por la migración. Con este proyecto invito a la gente a compartir sus zapatos
como declaraciones de donde ellos han sido y donde ellos van así compartiendo el movimiento y andando en los
pasos de cada uno...


http://zapatoviajero-travellingshoe.blogspot.com/2011/09/arriving-at-venezuela.html

A documentary series on an important Caribbean man - Dr. Eric Williams by Mariel Brown


Inward Hunger: The Story of Eric Williams is a pioneering documentary series that reveals Eric Williams in unprecedented breadth and depth, in the context of the history, society, region and world that shaped him; the forces to which he at times succumbed, and those he fought to change.
Dr Eric Eustace Williams is a complex and controversial Caribbean figure best known for leading Trinidad and Tobago to Independence in 1962. This year, the 100th anniversary of his birth, comes a new documentary series that explores the fascinating personal and political history of the country's first Prime Minister. Inward Hunger: The Story of Eric Williams is a production of Savant Ltd, creators of The Solitary Alchemist and The Insatiable Season. This ground-breaking documentary series was directed by Mariel Brown.
A private screening takes place tomorrow at Central Bank Auditorium, Eric Williams Plaza, Port of Spain from 7.30 p.m. and on Republic Day, September 24 at 3 p.m., GISL Channel 4 airs this three-part series on the compelling and contradictory life of an iconic Caribbean leader.
Inward Hunger: The Story of Eric Williams Documentary Film Series Synopsis
Eric Williams was a man of contradictions. From a family that felt disenfranchised because of their class and colour, but who were in many ways privileged compared to the working class in the then British colony of Trinidad and Tobago. He was a man respected for reaching the pinnacle of British education, yet he dedicated his life to ending colonial rule. A lifelong scholar who was often unwilling to admit his mistakes. A politician who used even his disabilities as tools of power.
Calling for ethnic unity in party and country, yet not above using race to win elections. A passionate, loving husband to one wife, a cold and bitter wind to another and party to a third, secret marriage.
A man driven by hard-work and discipline, who allowed corruption and intrigue to flourish around him. He was seen as a man of the people, and at the same time, he saw himself as intellectually superior to others; a visionary who expected his decisions to be followed without opposition.
He sought after mentors, then pushed away even those closest to him. One of the first advocates of West Indian Federation, yet unwilling to drive the union after Jamaica's withdrawal.
Anti-colonial, yet not willing to depart radically from British systems of governance. A Prime Minister who transformed the lives of many in Trinidad and Tobago through education, political mobilisation and economic development, yet did not go far enough, some say, to undo the ongoing hierarchies of a post-colonial society.

Read full story here.

Hope for some Jamaicans facing deportation from US - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Monday | September 19, 2011

Hope for some Jamaicans facing deportation from US - News - Jamaica Gleaner - Monday | September 19, 2011

Forward Home to be screened in Barbados

Forward Home. VIP Cinema, Olympus Theatre,
Monday 26th September, 2011. 6:00 pm.

Please join us for the Caribbean and Barbados Première of “Forward Home”,
a new documentary from the Shridath Ramphal Centre
for International Trade Law, Policy and Services, UWI, Cave Hill.

The screening is hosted by Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution which continues the series “By Popular Demand”: Every last Monday of the month, showcasing a Caribbean Film at the VIP Cinema of Olympus Theatres. The screening on Monday September 26, 2011, will feature “Forward Home: The Power of the Caribbean Diaspora”,
starting at 6:00 pm with light refreshments. Screening begins at 6:30 pm.
Price per ticket BDS $16.00.

For further information please call 417-4807
www.shridathramphalcentre.org
Forward Home: A documentary revealing the economic power of Caribbean overseas communities, showcasing the experiences of Diasporic peoples who straddle the dual worlds of Caribbean Homelands and Global Cities as travellers and entrepreneurs, and the organisations that make the relationship work.

The documentary will be distributed by Caribbean Tales World Wide Distribution.
www.caribbeantales-worldwide.com

September 14, 2011

Marcus Garvey movement owes large debt to Caribbean expats, UCLA historian finds


By Meg Sullivan

This article, by Meg Sullivan, was originally run by the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Newsroom, August 18, 2011. We will be following up with an excerpted essay by historians Nigel Westmaas and Juanita de Barros on the UNIA in British Guiana.

Conventional wisdom has long held that Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), which advocated racial self-help and the unity of the African diaspora, grew out of the heady political and cultural environment of the Harlem Renaissance and benefited African Americans above all other black people. Any Caribbean role, according to this view, was separate and incidental to the primary legacy bequeathed to American race relations by the charismatic Jamaica native.

Now a UCLA historian argues the reverse in the first book of a multi-volume series on the Garvey movement and the Caribbean. From the UNIA’s organizational structure to its most valuable foot soldiers during its first half-decade, Garvey’s Caribbean links were indispensable to the movement’s success, and the region ultimately proved to be its most important theatre, contends Robert A. Hill in “The Marcus Garvey and Universal Negro Improvement Association Papers: The Caribbean Diaspora 1910–1920.”

Researching the volume “was an eye-opener in many, many ways,” said Hill, a UCLA history professor and a leading authority on Garvey and the UNIA, which began in Jamaica but attained its greatest influence after Garvey established it in the U.S. in 1917. Caribbean nationals, both in America and abroad, Hill says, were the seed that grew the movement.

“Although the movement developed here and was based in America, it was predominantly a Caribbean movement, at least until federal prosecution of Garvey in the early 1920s drew the attention of African Americans and galvanized their support of him,” he said.

“The Caribbean Diaspora 1910–1920” is scheduled to be published by Duke University Press. With more than 400 documents, many of them newly discovered, it is the opening salvo in the third and final series of a vast collection of primary materials by and about Garvey and the UNIA, considered the largest mass political movement in black history. Highlights from the volume include Garvey’s earliest known published work, a 1911 letter to the editor of a newspaper in Costa Rica, where he was living among fellow Caribbean expatriates employed on banana plantations; a 1912 letter to a Belize newspaper criticizing social conditions under British colonial rule in that country; and a 1920 letter written from New York to the governor of British Guiana in which Garvey says that the majority of his followers are from the English-speaking West Indies.

Read full article here.

August 30, 2011

NEW YORK NEW YORK: Hope yet for Bajans on the deportee list?

BY TONY BEST | FRI, AUGUST 26, 2011 - 12:00 AM

Scores of Bajans facing deportation to their birthplace may be given a second chance to remain in the United States.

But the tough question is: what may happen with Barbadians who have already been sent back home?

The opportunity and the intriguing query are linked to a decision by the United States Department of Homeland Security to take a second look at 300 000 deportation cases now before American immigration courts.

The dramatic move has been hailed by immigration advocates in and outside the United States Congress and the courts who have been pressing the Obama White House for more than two-and-a-half years to change a dreaded policy which has resulted in more than a million people being kicked out of the country.

Tens of thousands of men and women from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados, many of whom have done nothing more than overstay their allotted time or committed misdemeanors, such as jumping a subway turnstile, possessing a joint of marijuana, shoplifting a $1 pack of salted nuts or sneaking onto a bus without paying the fare.

Almost 70 Barbadians in the northeastern United States are in the deportation pipeline and Andre Padmore, Barbados’ Consul in New York, described the move as “a step in the right direction”. He said they were “awaiting a detailed explanation of the administration’s plans”.

Read full article here.

August 23, 2011

Open Skies/Closed Skies


REDJET EXPOSES CARICOM's CLOSED SKY
By By Ian Bertrand
Story Created: Aug 2, 2011 at 11:51 PM ECT
Story Updated: Aug 2, 2011 at 11:51 PM ECT
The REDjet imbroglio, though staunched, still continues, and it has exposed to us Caribbean residents the gross inconsistencies that underpin Caricom aviation policies. Policies that are supposed to advance the socio-economic interests of all of us.
We have seen that our Caricom leaders eagerly adopt Open Sky policies for international air services but enforce Closed Sky policies for intra-regional air services.
Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica and Barbados have each signed an Open Sky air service agreement (ASA) with the United States. (Trinidad and Tobago negotiated their Open Sky ASA over a weekend.)
Yet these same fraternal members of Caricom and willing(?) signatories to the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, continue to persist in upholding Closed Sky ASAs among themselves.

Read full article here.

August 10, 2011

On The Map is part of the Caribbean Tales Worldwide Distribution library


Established in Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago, with the vision of “taking Caribbean films to the world,” CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution (CTWD) is the first of its kind film distribution company in the English-speaking Caribbean.

Founded by accomplished Trinidadian/Canadian/British film producer and director Frances-Anne Solomon, CTWD aims to become internationally known as the go-to solution for Caribbean-filmed product, offering the best films by the finest filmmakers and producers from the Caribbean and its Diaspora.

CTWD’s principals are creative industries specialist Dr Keith Nurse (Chair), economist and businessman Dr. Terrence Farrell, producer and media personality Lisa Wickham, and filmmaker Mary Wells. CaribbeanTales Worldwide Distribution is a member of the Barbados Business Enterprise Corporation.

CaribbeanTales (TM) is the trademark of a group of companies, with bases in Canada, Trinidad, and Barbados,that also includes CaribbeanTales an educational multimedia production company, and the CaribbeanTales Film Festival Group – that produces film screenings, festivals, and industry training events around the world.

For more on the CTWD and to order On The Map, visit this link - http://caribbeantales-worldwide.com/?page_id=2744

July 28, 2011

Free movement from Monday - St. Lucia

WED, JULY 27, 2011 - 3:00 PM

CASTRIES, St Lucia – The St Lucia-based organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) says it is making final preparations for the August 1 free movement of nationals from the sub-region.

It said the initiative will involve the six independent member states namely Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and St. Kitts and Nevis, with Montserrat expect to join by September followed at a later date by Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.

Lisa Louis-Phillip of the OECS Secretariat's Regional Integration Unit said every effort was being made to ensure that all administrative arrangements agreed to by the working group have been put in place in time for Monday.

"We have been seeking to ensure that whatever procedure and arrangements that are in place are not complicated and does not prohibit nationals from moving from one state to the next," she said.

"OECS nationals will require at least a valid ID card to benefit from the free movement of labour which takes effect from Monday August 1," Louis-Phillip added.
She said the committee had agreed to a number of procedures, such as the document to be used for re-entry.

"That is important as well as a completed ED form, these are the two most important documents that an OECS national moving to another protocol state would have to present to an immigration officer," she noted.

"At that point the individual would be granted an indefinite entry into that state once immigration is satisfied that all security and other reasonable precautions have been taken," Louis-Phillip added.

Read full article here.

Barbados snubs Shanique Myrie's Lawyers

(Jamaica Observer) More than four months after Jamai-can Shanique Myrie was finger-raped, verbally abused, locked up and kicked out of Barbados, the Barbadian Government is yet to respond to correspondence from her lawyers.


Shanique Myrie

Attorneys Anthony Hylton and Michelle Brown, who represent Myrie, say they have made repeated attempts to get the government of that eastern Caribbean island to address the issue but to date no positive response has been forthcoming.

Myrie, who was detained at the Grantley Adams International Airport in March, claimed that she was subjected to two demeaning cavity searches, locked in a cold, filthy room and kicked out of the country the following day, despite not being found with any contraband or in contravention of that country’s laws.

Read full article here.

July 25, 2011

Old problems for Caricom's New SG

THE formal appointment of Irwin LaRocque as the new secretary general of the Guyana-based Caricom Secretariat is expected to be completed this week with a letter from current Community chairman Dr Denzil Douglas, the prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis.
For almost six years, starting in September 2005, the Dominican-born economist has been functioning as one of three assistant secretaries general of the 38-year-old Community. His chief responsibility was Trade and Economic Integration.
At 56, LaRocque's choice as SG has come as a surprise to officials of various regional organisations, who prefer not to be quoted, as well as to the Community Secretariat staffers, who prefer to comment more on his "politeness" and "respect for procedures" within the administrative structure than on other factors.
He was chosen from a shortlist of five candidates, submitted by a "search committee" that was established by the Heads of Government last August following the decision of Edwin Carrington to retire at the end of 2010 after 18 years as secretary general. That development itself took place against the backdrop of what some have euphemistically termed a " very frank dialogue" in Jamaica involving Carrington and then Caricom chairman Prime Minister Bruce Golding.
So, after some ten months of work by a "search committee" whose terms of reference, including the required skills and expertise of a new secretary general, were never clearly outlined as public information, the five shortlisted candidates were interviewed by the Caricom Bureau and, finally, by a process of telephone conversations, LaRocque was announced as the new secretary general.
As some highly respected and experienced regional technocrats and thinkers see it, Caricom's 15 Heads of Government now have a new SG on board in the person of an "in-house" appointee, but are still far removed from dealing with the pivotal factor to which they themselves have often referred -- the urgent need for a "comprehensive review" of the structure and functioning of the Secretariat.


Read full article here.

July 14, 2011

A Requiem for CARICOM by Peter Wickham


(This article appeared in the Nation Newspaper but was not available on line. I have reproduced it here with the author's permission and attached an image of my work called "Hatchlings - A Requiem". The work is a laying in state of CARICOM...fifteen national entities sitting in nests on a shredded revised treaty of Chaguaramas.)

A Requiem for CARICOM

The title of this article might appear to be both premature and unfortunate; however anyone looking critically at recent events is left to conclude that the development of CARICOM is off the “front burner” for the time being and it is useful that the CARICOM Heads have finally admitted to us that it’s progress is not high on their list of priorities. This realisation causes me considerable discomfort since I have been committed to the cause of regionalism for several years without much good reason. In all of this I assumed that the region’s political leaders and bureaucrats shared my vision for this region and genuinely believed that we really were stronger as a unit; however I am now compelled to agree that schemes which seemed to signal some meaningful development of this Caribbean Community had more to do with the exploitation of some tangible benefit that a regional politician or bureaucrat identified for themselves or their country. It is therefore now useful to review the past few of CARICOM’s development with the benefit of hindsight and perhaps a hefty dose of cynicism.
This project of course stated with the 1958 West Indies Federation which had nothing to do with the Caribbean people or leaders, but was a Colonial Office project to unload 14 possessions that had stopped being profitable but were clearly not “worthy” of independence like India. This disaster ushered in the era of independence which was a proverbial “game changer” regarding regionalism since this would force us to compete among ourselves since we essentially all did the same thing. Thankfully, three visionaries named Barrow, Burnham and Bird, though perhaps we could mimic the European Community in their integration efforts in the same way that we mimicked their governance for decades. The vision of these three men was not entirely altruistic, but it was useful that they got things started and co-opted a Trinidadian named William Demas whose commitment is unparalleled. Demas worked hard to make the Caribbean Community a reality and to my mind was only handicapped by a vision of regional development that was both Eurocentric and “Trade-centric”.
These gentlemen meant well, but shamelessly borrowed from a European construct and rejected the occasional indigenous thinking that often sought to emerge from within the region. The end result was CARIFTA, followed by CARICOM which is a cheap “knock-off” of the European Community had long since evolved. It was therefore not surprising that “deficiencies” were identified after 10 years and as we approached the 20th Anniversary it was necessary to take a serious look at the project in an attempt to understand why it was going nowhere. The methodology selected by the Commission was as predictable as their prescription; hence we had our own version of the Royal Commission that set out under the distinguished Chairmanship of Lord Moyne. Naturally the WIC Report was equally voluminous and suggested a solution to our problems that required the establishment of new institutions, funds and projects. Ironically, this heavily bureaucratic approach was applied on one side, while on the other side the WIC called for “Hassle Free Travel” which is intrinsically anti-bureaucratic; however this would require a new bureaucracy to implement.
It did not take long for things to return to “Normal” in the Caribbean with regional bands and journalists being denied entry and in some instances being asked to leave the county. In the meantime our ever-expanding team of regional bureaucrats set to work on their new projects to facilitate trade expansion and to micromanage the little trade between islands. Institutions like the RNM were presented as being important to our survival and we had to find the recourses to fund its work. The vast majority of us don’t understand what these intuitions do, why these are so expensive to fund and why tangible results are seldom ever reported, but we continue to believe that we cannot live without them. To my mind it seems odd that we fund agencies to enhance trade capacity, market exports, negotiate trade agreements, standardise exports standards, collect, collate and analyse trade data and only two or three territories actually export any significant quantities of goods, the vast majority of which are intra-regional anyhow. As we battle the worst global recession since the 1930s the enormous and sophisticated “trade capacity” appears not to have been particularly useful especially in places like Barbados where Tourism has been our saviour.
One of the positive signs coming from the CARICOM Heads has been the apparent enthusiasm for the CSME. This was piloted by Barbados and considerable work was done on it by PM Arthur which the other heads also appeared excited about. The fact that this same Arthur behaved in a way that was clearly anti-regional recently demonstrates the extent to which this project was always about what was expedient. Support for the CSME was and will continue to be born of the realisation that unless we made ourselves look more like the EU (even if in theory) the World Trade Organisation might argue that we are not a regional grouping and force us to treat all other states equally, which is not an option. Since this immediate threat has been removed, the Heads can now comfortably announce that they are not moving on with new CARICOM initiatives.
In the meantime Caribbean people continue to have problems of a regional nature that CARICOM is unable or unwilling to address. The original concept of hassle free travel was set aside on September 11th, while some of us have gone further in our efforts to harass nationals of other states when they enter ours. We now have the case of the regional airline REDjet being denied entry to another CARICOM state, while Barbados is modifying its rules of access to Health Care and inadvertently excluding persons who have lived here for extended periods. The recent announcement that CARICOM was holding off on any new projects was therefore the most honest the Heads have been in some time.
Peter W. Wickham (peter.wickham@caribsurf.com) is a Political Consultant and a director of Caribbean Development Research Services (CADRES)

July 12, 2011

THE BIG INTERVIEW - Jagdeo’s way ahead


SUN, JULY 03, 2011 - 10:59 AM

The tenure of Guyana’s President Bharrat Jagdeo is nearing its end. While attending his last CARICOM Summit as Head of Government, Jagdeo spoke frankly to regional journalists, including NATION Managing Editor Tim Slinger, in St Kitts yesterday.

He was candid on several topical issues, including freedom of movement across the region, REDjet and West Indies cricket.



Q: This is your final appearance at the CARICOM Heads of Government conference. After 12 years, what are your impressions of the regional body?

Jagdeo: For too long we’ve held up these lofty ideas of the Treaty of Chaguaramas and almost in a sacred way without focusing enough on how we break those down into projects and programmes and get those implemented.

The only way that we’ll change the perception of CARICOM is not just through a PR job . . . . There are a lot of positive things about CARICOM but the more ordinary people can feel regional initiatives impacting on their lives.

The fishermen in Barbados, in Trinidad and Tobago, Grenada and Guyana and Suriname can have their fisheries agreement that allows them to move seamlessly across these countries and fish, then without any hassle they will start to say CARICOM is working. So it builds support through specific initiatives.

There is that sense of urgency that we need to create the mechanisms for that new approach. A change in mindset.

Read full article.

ALL AH WE IS ONE - Time for boldness


BY TENNYSON JOSEPH | TUE, JULY 12, 2011 - 12:00 AM

RECENT NEWS on the regional integration movement has not been encouraging. The talk among the people who have been entrusted with the health of the living body is now of corpses and obituaries.

The Prime Minister of St Kitts, Denzil Douglas, ironically advocates a “slowing down” of the movement towards a single economy and tries to pass that off as a new advance, superior to the enthusiastic support for deeper integration once espoused by the founding fathers.

A clearer example of generational retreat and of “one step forward, two steps backward” cannot be found.

Leaders, who can hardly be stirred from their slumber to give a positive report on the achievement of long-overdue tasks, discover a new-found energy that fuels only cross-talk and mauvaise langue and are at their best only when verbally beating the integration project into the dust.

What is worse, all of this is coming at a time when the failure of stand-alone, single-island development is now beyond question, exposed as it is by the comatose nature of the Caribbean state in the face of the Great Recession. Indeed, if the scent of death can be picked up, it is not of the integration project, but of the false claim that any Caribbean territory can survive on its own.

Read full article here.

June 21, 2011

NATION EDITORIAL: Non-functioning of Caricom’s quasi-cabinet?


TUE, JUNE 21, 2011 - 12:00 AM

When leaders of the Caribbean Community meet next weekend in Basseterre for this year’s annual summit, we hope they would review the relevance and functioning of the quasi-cabinet mechanism through which lead portfolio responsibilities are allocated.

The quasi-cabinet and the CARICOM Bureau (comprising current, immediate past and and incoming Heads of Government, along with the secretary general), are part of the governance system instituted in accordance with the “Consensus of Chaguaramas” in October 1999.

Its aim was to “spearhead action in sectors critical to the region’s integration and its vision of development into the 21st century”.

We today recall this development of almost 11 years because of recurring lapses and dissatisfaction over adherence to the letter and spirit of the functioning of the quasi-cabinet across the 14 independent member states (Montserrat is the exception).

The distribution of portfolios is done on the basis of country and responsibility held by whoever is that state’s Head of Government. All of the leaders are collectively responsible to the Heads of Government conference which is the primary organ of the Community.

Read full article here.

Free Movement Game by Rickey Singh


FRI, JUNE 17, 2011 - 12:15 AM

OPPORTUNISM is a game that has special attraction for governing parties not only in our Caribbean region but one that’s quite appealing worldwide in the ebb and flow of political fortunes.

Several governments in our Caribbean Community, including Barbados, have been playing this game quite well when it comes to implementation of decisions to effect the Single Economy dimension of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), particularly in relation to freedom of movement of nationals.

The latest example appears to involve, surprisingly, the Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis, Dr Denzil Douglas.

None of the governments in the single economy project has ever considered it necessary to issue an official policy statement outlining its position on the phased implementation of the first

five, later extended to ten, categories of skilled CARICOM nationals who would be eligible to live and work in a Community state.

Although the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas provides the legal foundation of the CSME, excuses, apologies, lack of positive action have been the norm when it comes

to instituting relevant policies.

Contrary to what was alluded to in a June 12 Sunday Sun article CSME in hindsight, no government of CARICOM has ever promised what any sensible Community citizen ever seriously expected – “the opening of doors to all (my emphasis) CARICOM nationals who wish to live in the country under the original freedom of movement regional plan . . .”.

Truth is, there never was such an agreed policy.

Read full article here.

June 20, 2011

Deportee slashes his throat

An illegal immigrant slashed his throat as he was being deported from London on a plane.

The man is receiving treatment in hospital after the Virgin Atlantic flight from London Gatwick to Kingston, Jamaica, was postponed.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said an investigation was being launched into how the man was able to inflict the "superficial injuries" on himself.

The airline has offered counselling to passengers, who looked on in horror as the incident took place on Monday.

Emergency services prevented more serious injury by "glueing" his throat together, a source said.

A spokeswoman for the airline said: "Virgin Atlantic confirms that flight VS69 from London Gatwick to Kingston has been delayed until 12.45 on 21 June following a passenger incident.

"Virgin Atlantic is cooperating with the authorities in their investigation of the incident and is offering counselling support to passengers and crew.

"All passengers on board the plane have been provided with hotel accommodation, refreshments and meals until the flight departs tomorrow. Any passengers who wish to change their flights will be able to do so."

The Boeing 747-400 aircraft was carrying 449 passengers and 17 crew.

To see source go here.

June 14, 2011

Dark season for Caricom as regional integration on pause

By Ricky Singh

THE FAILURE to identify a new Secretary General for the Caribbean Community (Caricom) or to indicate any progress in coming to grips with the need for a new and relevant management structure at the Georgetown-based Secretariat, continue to attract attention across the region.

Just two weeks ago, the Jamaica Observer editorially declared that in deciding at their "special retreat" in Guyana last month to put on "pause" arrangements for the promised vital single economy, the Heads of Government may well be "sounding the death knell of Caricom".

As the Observer noted, the Community's leaders are yet to explain to the region's people the specific problems/challenges that prevent them from advancing the process towards a seamless regional economy.

The Single Market component of the CSME (Caricom Single Market and Economy) came into effect in 2006 and it was originally estimated that the single economy could be inaugurated by 2008. However, it was subsequently revised and hopefully, the single economy dimension would be inaugurated by 2015.

Click here to read full article.

June 5, 2011

Crack down on illegal immigrants


SUN, JUNE 05, 2011 - 4:14 PM

MONTGOMERY – The southern US state of Alabama has passed a sweeping bill to crack down on illegal Caribbean and other immigrants, that both supporters and opponents call the toughest of its kind in the country.

Observers say it goes well beyond a law Arizona passed last year that caused a furore there.

The measure was passed by large margins in the Republican-controlled Alabama Senate and the House of Representatives. Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a Republican, is expected to sign the bill into law.

The Alabama bill includes a provision similar to one that stirred controversy in Arizona, authorizing state and local police officers to ask about the immigration status of anyone they stop, based on a “reasonable suspicion” the person is an illegal immigrant. Federal courts have suspended most of that Arizona law.

However, Alabama’s bill goes beyond Arizona’s. It bars illegal immigrants from enrolling in any public college after high school. It obliges public schools to determine the immigration status of all students, requiring parents of foreign-born students to report the immigration status of their children.

The bill also requires Alabama’s public schools to publish figures on the number of immigrants — both legal and illegal — who are enrolled and on any costs associated with the education of illegal immigrant children. In addition, the it makes it a crime to knowingly rent housing to an illegal immigrant and bars businesses from taking tax deductions on wages paid to unauthorized immigrants.

“Alabama is now the new number one state for immigration enforcement,” said Kris Kobach, a constitutional lawyer, who is secretary of state in Kansas.

Representative Micky Hammon, a Republican who was a chief sponsor of the bill, described it as “a jobs-creation bill for Americans”.

“We really want to prevent illegal immigrants from coming to Alabama and to prevent those who are here from putting down roots,” he added.

Read full article here.

May 24, 2011

Existential Threats: Regionalising Governance, Democratising Politics by Norman Girvan

I was privileged to first hear CLR at a lecture he delivered on the Mona
Campus of the UWI in late 1959. I was a first year student, an
impressionable youth, and the experience was unforgettable. His subject
was “The Artist in the Caribbean”; and he brought art, literature, politics,
philosophy, and economics together within a single unified vision of the
world and of human society. “The great artist‟, he said, “is universal because
he is national”- rooted in his or her society and reflecting and relating to the
social forces of their time and place.
It was not just his content, but his style. James spoke with knowledge,
feeling, authority, fluency and poetry. The words seemed to flow like a great
river from the mountain to the sea, sometimes changing direction and
speed, sometimes digressing, but always confident that it was headed
towards some glorious rendezvous with history. A first impression, a lasting
impact.
Years later, as a graduate student in London, I was part of a CLR James
study group that met every week at his house in London to sit at his feet—
intellectually and even literally.

Read full lecture here.

CARICOM-Girvan “disappointed’ at outcome of CARICOM retreat


TUESDAY, 24 MAY 2011 01:57 CMC

UWI PROFESSOR EMERITUS, NORMAN GIRVAN
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – A prominent University of the West Indies (UWI) academic Monday said he was “deeply disappointed” at the outcome of the two-day retreat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders in Guyana over the weekend.
“I am not seeing any concrete or meaningful decisions to address the deep seated problems of governance and implementation that presently afflict the community and which are at the root of the so-call information deficit,” UWI Professor Emeritus, Norman Girvan told the Caribbean media Corporation (CMC).

“I am just seeing another statement of good intention and if I might say so platitudes that the people of the region have quite frankly become tired and cynical about, said Girvan, a former professorial research fellow at the UWI Graduate Institute of International Relations.

A statement issued at the end of the retreat, which was attended by 10 of the 15 CARICOM) leaders, indicated that the process towards a single economy within the 15-member grouping that would have gone into effect by 2015, will now “take longer than anticipated”.

In addition, the leaders also “recognised that while the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) provided a platform for attaining further economic development of the Community, its ultimate goal was to provide a better quality of life and greater prosperity for the Peoples of the Community.

In their statement, the regional leaders noted that with respect to governance, “they reaffirmed the decision taken at their Inter-Sessional Meeting in Grenada in February to await the completion of the current review of the CARICOM Secretariat, before taking any firm decisions towards the establishment of the Permanent Committee of CARICOM Ambassadors (PCCA).

Read full article here.

May 22, 2011

Leaders end retreat


GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders have ended their two-day retreat here indicating that the process towards a single economy within the 15-member grouping that would have gone into effect by 2015, will now “take longer than anticipated’.

The leaders from 10 of the Caribbean countries - Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Suriname, St. Lucia and the Bahamas prime ministers were absent – said in a statement afterwards that they would now await a restructuring of the Guyana-based CARICOM Secretariat before establishing an over-arching decision-implementation arm to ensure regional policies are adhered to.

“As regards the Single Economy, they recognised that the process towards full implementation would take longer than anticipated and agreed it may be best to pause and consolidate the gains of the Single Market before taking any further action on certain specific elements of the Single Economy, such as the creation of a single currency,” the statement said.

Read full article here.

Cuts preventing refugees from integrating, says Scottish study


Refugees will face higher levels of poverty, unemployment and destitution because government cuts will prevent people from integrating into British society, a report published on Tuesday will warn.

A study by the Scottish Refugee Council has found that refugees remain one of the most marginalised groups.

Funding by the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) to help refugees integrate will cease in September and the SRC says that grassroots provisions across the UK could be badly affected.

The report has found that only 13% of refugees were in full employment and that less than 1% of those in work earned more than £15,000 a year.

Language services could also be affected at a time when the government is demanding that immigrants learn English in order to integrate. In a controversial speech in April the prime minister David Cameron said that immigrants unable to speak English or unwilling to integrate have created a "kind of discomfort and disjointedness" that has disrupted communities across Britain.

The SRC said that the spate of coalition cutbacks contradicts a 2010 Home Office study which acknowledged that refugees require practical help to integrate. During 2010 the charity's Refugee Integration and Employment Service (RIES) helped 410 refugees to get into education and work. The SRC said it would continue to support people but would have to explore different sources of funding and it called on the government to rethink its strategy.

John Wilkes, chief executive of the SRC, said: "Our study shows a clear need for dedicated support on integration from all levels of government in order to help refugees rebuild their lives here. The UK Border Agency, run from Westminster, has pulled funding for RIES from September 2011, despite indicating in its own research that integration assistance is vitally important to refugees. On a wider scale, cuts to the voluntary sector mean many grassroots services working to help refugees and local communities integrate have been restricted. Scotland has already made great strides to help refugees integrate from the moment they arrive. We now want to see the Scottish government revisit their strategy for integration in light of our findings, as well as in light of UK-wide cuts."

Of 249 people interviewed by the SRC over a two-year period, only 32 said they were in full time employment and less than 6% said they were living "comfortably". Isolation was a major problem with more than a third of respondents saying they had little or no contact with neighbours and 71% said they had suffered discrimination in Britain.

Read full article here.

May 20, 2011

Mobilizing Diaspora: The University of the West Indies hosts International Conference on The Global South Asian Diaspora


By Amar Wahab

Amar Wahab is a lecturer in Sociology at the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine Campus, Trinidad & Tobago

For the region’s Nobel Laureate, Derek Walcott, “the traveller cannot love,” unlike those more settled and put in place. If this is so in a region ironically settled by diasporic populations, what does it mean for those who have moved from home, those who are stranded while mobile, those who yearn for resettlement of self, family and community while aiming for boundless possibility? The myriad factors that push and pull, wax and wane and which organize diasporas and diasporic circuits are increasingly important to the region, where Walcott’s sense of ‘love’ (and hope) remains ever elusive.

Of the many regions that historically and presently impact the Caribbean, South Asia, especially India, has had and continues to have a deep connection with the Indo-Caribbean diaspora in Guyana, Trinidad and Jamaica. A similar relation to seemingly far off places like Mauritius, Fiji, and South Africa brings these countries, which share histories of colonialism and indentureship, into fruitful encounter with the Caribbean. The increasing attempts by India to marshal its troops in the global diaspora through economic, political and cultural venues, like clothes and jewellery fairs, Bollywood cable channels, and joint-venture banking, etc. can only be realistically assessed when thought of in relation to the response of the diaspora to this invitation to allegiance to homeland.

At the same time we see similar gestures of reciprocity connecting the Indo-Caribbean diaspora in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, The Netherlands and France, though with different intensities and directions of exchange. These increasingly fluid mobilizations of love for return and returning for love’s sake must be watched to understand what they can make possible and problematic. Perhaps it is this attention to what Tejaswini Niranjana terms ‘mobilizing India’, and I would add, mobilizing diaspora in the name of India (People of Indian Origin and Non-Resident Indians), that the region needs to carefully consider alongside longstanding concerns about Western neoimperialism, as a unique framing consideration of our 21st-century horizon.

Read full article here.

May 17, 2011

“Look for Me All Around You”: Anglophone Caribbean Immigrants in the Harlem Renaissance

Lost and found
By Carl A. Wade


Seven years after the appearance of Winds Can Wake Up the Dead: An Eric Walrond Reader, his highly respected anthology featuring the work of the neglected Caribbean writer, Louis J. Parascandola brings together the writings and speeches of a selection of those West Indian immigrants who exerted a powerful if not inordinate influence on that efflorescence of art and ideology familiarly known as the Harlem Renaissance.

Against the background of the complex social tensions of the times, Parascandola’s most recent text offers a comprehensive and timely reminder of the multifaceted contribution of this marginalised community to one of the most significant cultural and ideological events in New York City’s history. It celebrates the Caribbean immigrants as “key contributors to the burgeoning developments of this seminal era, cogently adding their unique voice to a variety of issues, including race and image building, the development of a Black aesthetic, progressive politics, and the struggle to define the status of blacks in America.”

The immigrants selected by Parascandola, a professor of English at the Brooklyn campus of Long Island University, represent every significant sphere of Harlem activity, as well as a cross section of West Indian communities, including Suriname. Many of these are well known to scholars and researchers, but unfamiliar to the lay community — especially in the West Indies — while the others have languished in obscurity for three quarters of a century. Apart from Walrond, born in British Guiana of Barbadian parents, Parascandola’s subjects include the well-known voices of Jamaicans Claude McKay, the eminent poet and novelist, and Marcus Garvey, founder of the United Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), and the most prominent of all Renaissance personalities; the Barbadian communist and labour activist Richard B. Moore; the Puerto Rican bibliophile Arthur A. Schomburg, after whom the famous Harlem research library is named; J.A. Rogers, the Jamaican historian and author; George Padmore, the noted Pan-Africanist born in Trinidad; Hubert Harrison, “the black Socrates,” socialist activist and newspaper editor, and Frank A. Crosswaith, trade union leader, both from St. Croix; and Cyril Valentine Briggs, the self-styled “angry blond Negro” communist newspaperman from Nevis. Otto Huiswoud, first black member of the American Communist Party, agitator, and editor from Dutch Guiana, and W.A. Domingo, the socialist newspaperman born in Jamaica, the son of a Spanish father and Jamaican mother, complete the list of male immigrants whose work is examined in the collection. Parascandola achieves something of a balance by discussing the contributions of three women, namely Amy Ashwood Garvey, co-founder of the UNIA; Amy Jacques Garvey, author and campaigner for the rights of women and blacks; and Eulalie Spence, the prize-winning playwright and drama teacher from Nevis.

Read full CRB article here.

May 11, 2011

PRESIDENT OBAMA'S CALL FOR IMMIGRATION REFORM

The President spoke in El Paso about the urgent need to fix our broken immigration system.

We need an immigration system that reflects our values as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants—and Washington won't act unless we lead. Watch the President's speech—and add your name to his call for reform.


Click on the link below to see Obama's El Paso speech.

http://www.barackobama.com/Immigration-Reform-Signon?source=20110510_BO_txt&keycode=&firstname=Annalee&lastname=Davis&email=annaleedavis%40gmail.com&zip=00000

May 3, 2011

Why Obama shouldn't have to show his papers



Goldie Taylor of the Grio speaks to the whole issue of demanding legitmate citizens to show their status.
Reminds of some of the discussions that take place in the Caribbean around belonging, or not.

http://www.thegrio.com/politics/why-obama-shouldnt-have-had-to-show-his-papers.php

Please turn off the lights....


Story Of The Song: Lyrics, Literature Trace Emigration Of Jamaicans


Emigration is a huge part of the Jamaican story. Even before the first wave of post-World War II emigrants to Britain sailed from Jamaica in May 1948 on the Empire Windrush, which stopped in Trinidad before going on to England, Jamaicans were involved in building the Panama Canal, which was finished in 1914.

Writing in The Gleaner in June 2000, Professor Patrick Bryan said: "Between about 1850 and 1930, Panama, Cuba and Costa Rica were the three most important destinations for Jamaicans. But there were other destinations as well - Ecuador, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. In the 1920s and 1930s, others worked in the oil refineries of Curaçao and Aruba. One folksong reminds us that 'Solomon grandpa gone a Ecuador, lef' im wife an' pickney outa door.' Another tells us of the Panama man who returns with a substantial gold watch, which, unhappily, he cannot read."

That second song ridicules the 'Colón man' who has returned to Jamaica with the evidence of his prosperity ("One, two, three four, Colón man a come"), but although he has a watch on a chain, when "you ask him fe de time an' him look up pon de sun".

From that time, then, Jamaican lyricists were engaging with the migration phenomenon, both those who had gone and left their offspring behind, at a time when the term 'barrel children' had not yet been coined, as well as the person who had come back - again at a time when a now common term, 'returning resident', was not a commonplace part of the language.

Read full article here.

May 2, 2011

Franco-Italian push to partially renationalise border controls



European Commission President

Brussels said on Sunday that national passport controls might be reintroduced across Europe to allow the "temporary" re-erection of borders between 25 countries.

Responding to intense pressure from Italy and France to tighten the no-borders system known as the Schengen regime, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European commission, said he was looking at ways of satisfying the two countries' concerns. Paris and Rome are alarmed at an influx of migrants fleeing revolutionary north Africa.

In a letter to French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, Barroso said that the commission would unveil new proposals on Wednesday on immigration policy, common European asylum procedures, and reform of the Schengen system.

The commission's proposals are to go to a summit of EU leaders next month, with France and Italy leading the charge for a partial renationalisation of border controls, a trend the commission would like to resist but looks too weak to counter.

The Franco-Italian push to place greater restrictions on the Schengen regime, launched last week after a furious row between Paris and Rome over refugees from Tunisia, has already won support from a handful of other EU countries, including Germany.

Read full article here.

La Bloga: May day thoughts and a list of Latino Immigrant Literature


La Bloga contributors forgo our usual format to contribute short pieces relating to today's immigration protests throughout and beyond Aztlán. We remind U.S. residents, including those whose "papers" are less than four hundred years old, that May Day's roots lie in the U.S. of 1886. If mexicano participation in this American holiday reaches historic proportions today, the reasons may lie in history: "In 1925, in the town of Matehuala, on the main highway between Monterrey and Mexico City, the trade unions of the area unveiled in the Plaza de Chicago a monument to the Martyrs of Chicago. Each May Day, workers from surrounding towns come here on the Day of the Martyrs of Chicago, what May Day is called in Mexico. . ." -- photo and cite from May Day: Made in the USA by W. J. Adelman.

See link here for more information.

Some thoughts on the contemporary trade union movement in the Caribbean


Alissa Trotz is editor of the In the Diaspora Column.

Over the weekend both Stabroek News and Kaieteur News ran important pieces that addressed the significance of May Day, now celebrated all over the world. In its Sunday editorial, titled Radical Labour, Kaieteur News reminded readers that May Day started in the United States in 1886 as a general strike for an eight hour work day, with immigrant workers playing leading roles. It is interesting to reflect on this geographical beginning in light of the challenges facing labour and labour organizers across North America today. This is perhaps expressed nowhere more vividly than in the state of Wisconsin, where a Republican governor has introduced policies intended to destroy the collective bargaining rights of public workers. And across the US border just last Friday, in a decision that has shocked many labour advocates and organizers, the Supreme Court of Canada denied Ontario farm workers – numbering in the tens of thousands and many of whom are temporary migrant workers from countries like Mexico, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago – the right to join unions for collective bargaining like other workers across the province. These are difficult times indeed.


(This is one of a series of weekly columns from Guyanese in the diaspora and others with an interest in issues related to Guyana and the Caribbean)

In formulating an answer to the question, what is the work to be done, both Stabroek News and Kaieteur News provocatively challenged the trade union movement in Guyana to take a long hard look at itself. The Kaieteur News, in editorials on Saturday and Sunday, made the point clearly that a key piece of the work involves thinking about divide and rule politics, and the ways in which the trade union movement has operated to restrict, and not expand, the scope of workers’ demands.

On Saturday the Stabroek News reported on a forum, titled Poverty, Development and Labour in Guyana, hosted by the University of Guyana Students for Social Change, with labour attorney Randolph Kirton, General Secretary of the Guyana Agricultural and General Workers Union Seepaul Narine and social activist and Red Thread member Andaiye. This was an excellent initiative on the part of the student organizers, and one hopes it will continue. Notwithstanding examples from our past (like the establishment of the Sugar and Bauxite Worker’s Unity Committee in the early 1980s under the PNC dictatorship), the divisions facing the trade union movement today stand in the way of effectively addressing the difficult conditions faced by the majority of Guyanese women and men, a point made by Saturday’s Kaieteur News editorial when it talked about the likelihood of three different rallies. In this context, the role of the university should not be underestimated. Events like this can offer a space for conversations which bring people together – and young people in particular – to discuss key issues affecting people in their everyday lives, away from the politicking, the nastiness and the tribalism that have become such a feature of Guyanese life at home and in the diaspora.

Read full article here.

Derek Walcott wins OCM Bocas Prize


Story Created: Apr 30, 2011 at 11:54 PM ECT
Story Updated: Apr 30, 2011 at 11:54 PM ECT
Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott takes 2011 OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature.
White Egrets, his collection of poetry that has already won the TS Eliot Prize and was judged the winner of the OCM Bocas Prize poetry category, was chosen for the US$10,000 award last night, seeing off competition from the fiction and non-fiction winners.
The judges in their citation commented upon the "seemingly effortless flow of the language and imagery despite the poet's stated premonitions of the loss of poetic power and inspiration…. Walcott is still writing great poetry, lovely cadences, beautiful images".
They considered the book-length poem that is divided into separate poems and is an exploration of bereavement and grief in one's advanced years to be, "a book that tells of a period of life more usually talked at and talked about than heard from or listened to, which makes it a very important work".
White Egrets is Walcott's 14th book of poems. He has also published eight collections of plays and a book of essays. Extracts of the winning collection were featured in two parts in the Express in April.
The poet, who is at work in Europe on a new theatre production, was not present at the award ceremony and his daughter Mrs Elizabeth Walcott-Hackshaw, who is also a writer, accepted the OCM Bocas Prize cheque and trophy on his behalf. Tiphanie Yanique, whose debut novel, How To Escape From a Leper Colony, won the Fiction category, is visiting Trinidad for the occasion but Edwidge Danticat, winner of the Non-Fiction category for Create Dangerously: the immigrant artist at work was unable to attend.
The ceremony last night in the Old Fire Station included many of this country's and the region's most accomplished writers. It was one of the highlights of the new annual Bocas Lit Fest that started on Thursday at the National Library in Port of Spain. Readings from the winning books take place today at 4 pm, followed by poetry and music performed by the Freetown Collective and a jazz session by Mike Germain and Destino at 5pm, which bring the four-day Festival to an end.

April 27, 2011

Deutsche Börse prize for photography goes to chronicler of displaced people


Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg has documented refugees and immigrants in across the world since 1983.

Jim Goldberg has won this year's £30,000 Deutsche Börse prize for photography, in a ceremony hosted by the Photographers' Gallery in London.

The Magnum photographer, who has documented the experiences of refugees, immigrants and displaced people from Africa, the Middle East and eastern Europe since 1983 in a project titled Open See, triumphed over a shortlist that included fine art photographer Thomas Demand, whom many insiders considered the favourite. Goldberg, who lives in San Francisco, and won the 2007 Cartier- Bresson Prize for an earlier version of the same project, describes himself as a documentary storyteller.

Open See was shown to great acclaim at the Photographers' Gallery last year. It features polaroids, video stills, found images and hand-written text often using the words of his subjects.

The chair of the jury, Brett Rogers, praised Goldberg's "timely and inventive approach to documentary practice … allowing these individuals to tell their own stories."

See link here.