Jacqueline Charles reports on the four-day summit of Caribbean leaders that opened yesterday in Antigua with a packed agenda that looks at issues such as the impact of the economic slowdown in the Caribbean and the controversial, new citizenship law in the Dominican Republic. Here are excerpts with a link to the full article below:
The prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Tuesday condemned a recently approved naturalization law in the Dominican Republic for children of illegal migrants, saying “the so-called reform law” does not go far enough to reinstate citizenship, especially to those of Haitian descent. “The people of Haitian descent who have been denied citizenship in the Dominican Republic … look to us to give voice to the denial of their human rights. Don’t think that they look simply to Haiti,” said Ralph Gonsalves, who has served as chairman of the Caribbean Community or Caricom for the past six months.
Gonsalves was addressing leaders at the opening of the 35th meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community in Antigua and Barbuda.
[. . .] Last year, Gonsalves led Caricom into cooling relations with the Dominican Republic after its constitutional court stripped Dominican citizenship from anyone whose parents were illegally in the country. Retroactive to 1929, the ruling triggered international outcry and a standoff with Caricom, which the Dominican Republic has been seeking to join. Neighboring Haiti is already a member.
Gonsalves said the issue is one of human rights for the region and asked leaders to add it to their already packed agenda over the next three days. Discussions during the summit will center around the ongoing effort to seek slavery reparations from former slave holding European nations; the stigmatization of persons with HIV/AIDS; the decriminalization of marijuana laws; human resource development, regional transportation and the future of Caricom itself.
For full article, see http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/07/01/4213751/caribbean-leaders-open-summit.html