Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar will chair a meeting of the Caricom Bureau of Heads next week to deal with the issue of persons of Haitians descent born in the Dominican Republic after 1929, being denied citizenship based on a Constitutional Court ruling.
An Office of the Prime Minister spokesman told Newsday yesterday the meeting will take place in Port-of-Spain.
The Bureau Heads are Persad-Bissessar, incoming Chairman Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr Ralph Gonsalves, and immediate past Chairman President of Haiti, Michel Martelly.
The meeting follows a letter Gonsalves wrote to the DR President, Danilo Medina on Wednesday in which he informed him that he has called on Venezuela to consider suspending the DR from the PETROCARIBE Agreement until it corrects its court’s ruling denying citizenship to persons of Haitian descent, born in the DR after 1929. The letter was the second he had written to Medina. He had no response to the first.
In the letter, Gonsalves, said that the IX Summit of PETROCARIBE is scheduled for Caracas on December 16 and if the situation for persons of Haitian descent is not favourably altered, he will raise the matter “forcefully at this Summit.”
In the letter which he copied to Caricom Heads of Government and the Caricom Secretariat, he said that “quiet diplomacy and muted behind-the-scenes dialogue are wholly insufficient.”
The SVG, he reiterated “will not support, in the current circumstances, any application by the DR to join Caricom.” The DR has been trying to gain membership of Caricom in recent years, but was denied membership due to Haiti’s sole objection.
He reiterated, too, that SVG is calling for the suspension of the DR from CARIFORUM. The CARIFORUM grouping came about to allow the DR to negotiate with Caricom countries the Economic Partnership Agreements with the European Union.
The SVG, on behalf of Caricom, has condemned the court’s ruling and the DR government’s reluctance to “effect an alteration” to the court’s decision at the level of the Organisation of American States.
Meanwhile, the Caribbean International Amnesty (CAI) is calling on Caribbean nationals to sign a petition available on its website —http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/caribbean — to be sent to Medina to stop the implementation of the court’s ruling until the OAS’ Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) visits the country.
The DR authorities have agreed to the IACHR’s visit to assess the scope of the ruling. A date for the visit is currently being discussed.