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Civil Society presents petition to CARICOM Leaders on Dominican Republic Court Ruling

Mr. Marchenson Desrosier, a Haitian student at the University of Guyana, and Ms. Danuta Radzik, present the petition to Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque. (Caricom photo)

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has an “historic opportunity” to demonstrate its relevance to, and its caring for, the citizens of the Region by resolving the issue surrounding the effect of the Dominican Republic Constitutional Court’s Ruling on Nationality on persons of Haitian descent in the country.

The Caricom Headquarter said in a statement that that sentiment was expressed by Professor Emeritus Norman Girvan as he presented a petition to the Bureau of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM on behalf of Civil Society urging the Leaders to take action against the Dominican Republic in a bid to alleviate the plight of the people of Haitian descent affected by the ruling. The Bureau, comprising of CARICOM Chair, the Honourable Kamla Persad-Bissessar, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, His Excellency Michel Martelly, President of Haiti and Dr the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines along with CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque met on Tuesday in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago to discuss the issue.

Professor Girvan who presented the petition along with Sunity Maharaj, Asha Kambon and Deacon Michael James told the Bureau that “we cannot let down our brothers and sisters in the Dominican Republic, integral members of the regional family.” He told the leaders that CARICOM must present a united front on this issue, and speak with one voice.

Last week Secretary-General LaRocque had received a similar petition from a group comprising representatives from several organisations based in Guyana expressing solidarity with Haitian descendants on the issue. The petitioners included Haitian students pursuing courses at the University of Guyana.

In receiving Tuesday’s petition Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar assured Professor Girvan that the Heads of Government were “not giving up on the issue” while President Martelly thanked the group for their support. Dr Gonsalves noted that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) had an “historic opportunity” to lead Latin America and the wider Caribbean region in showing that “everybody has a place in world humanity.”