Shyne warns government of possible isolation from CARICOM
Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow, in his press conference earlier today, also spoke on the visa requirement for Haitians. As we reported, Barrow believes that the move goes against the Treaty of Chiguaramas which could create issues for Belize in the longer run. Here’s how he explained it.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: “Belize in successive governments have all been strong proponents of CARICOM. CARICOM is a community. We have agreements. 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 rank violation and it is not just a political statement that I am making this is has been tested and adjudicated at the CCJ in the case of Shanika Myrie. It is not just the UDP that is saying it. There are legal minds in Belize, there are people in Jamaica and other CARICOM nations and Jamaica is not as bad as with the Haitians where your 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. So I believe if Belize has an immigration problem with these particular CARICOM nationals this is a matter that should be taken to the heads of state in CARICOM and come up with a resolution that doesn’t infringe upon the rights guaranteed under the treaty. And I hear the Prime Minister, as he always does, blaming it on Dean Barrow “Oh this is what Barrow did, Barrow instituted the VISA requirement.” well that’s why the people changed governments because they wanted what you said you would offer which is this bastion of democracy and you would do so well but people are definitely not happy with these discriminatory practices that totally compromise and undermine the institution of CARICOM.”
When we spoke with Prime Minister Briceno on the matter with the Haitians, he says that illegal migration and human smuggling is a serious issue that needs to be addressed. Barrow says while he understands the logic, he still has issues with the government’s decision.
Moses “Shyne” Barrow, Leader of the Opposition: ” 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 state start making unilateral decisions that violate the treaty. It is not even subject to interpretation it already went to the CCJ and the CCJ said this is not the type of behavior that we will accept and it’s a violation of rights. So when you have an emergency I saw that they said these nationals are coming and they’re not leaving again that is a matter that needs to be presented to the heads of state in CARICOM, call for a special session you know ? Our very good Belizean is the SecGen call for a special session then deliberate the matter with the heads of state and come up with a resolution that speaks to the obligation we have to CARICOM. We can’t just make these unilateral decisions because as the release said we’ll find ourself isolated.”