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Shyne Takes on Briceño Administration on Immigration

Apr 14, 2023

Shyne Takes on Briceño Administration on Immigration

The controversy surrounding a recent cabinet decision to put in place specific measures for visitors arriving from Haiti and Jamaica continues.  The move by the Briceño administration to invoke a particular article within the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas has been met with strong criticism from the opposition which cites a 2013 decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice in the case of Shanika Myrie, in respect of a similar matter.  In the context of free movement within the Caribbean Community, Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow says that notwithstanding the likelihood of human trafficking, government should have gone about the matter differently, in consideration of the various treaties that have been signed under CARICOM.

Shyne Barrow

Shyne Barrow, Leader of the Opposition

“In successive governments, have all been strong proponents of CARICOM.  CARICOM is a community, we have agreements and the ultimate objective is regional integration and a single market economy.  So the things that we do, the decisions that we make have to be consistent with that agreement, with that community and denying the Haitians their rights that are in those agreements is a rank violation and it is not just a political statement that I am making.  This has been tested and adjudicated at the CCJ, in the case of Shanika Myrie, you know, it is not just the UDP that is saying it.  There are legal minds in Belize, people in Jamaica and other CARICOM nations, and Jamaica is not as bad as with the Haitians where you’re requiring a visa for people that under the treaties that we have with CARICOM, it is all about free movement.  It is all about… a CARICOM national can vote in Belizean elections.  That is what all of the heads of states throughout successive governments have come together to agree. I accept that there is a problem with human smuggling but again, if you have agreed, as all successive Belizean governments have, to the importance of CARICOM, then you cannot arbitrarily violate the treaties, regardless of whatever domestic issue you may have.  Call an urgent meeting.  I don’t believe that it is in the interest of the community that heads of states start making unilateral decisions that violate the treaty.”