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CARICOM Accused Of Feet-Dragging On Dominican Republic Issue

St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): A local MP who’s throwing his hat into the ring hoping to, in the near future become a head of government, is chastising the Caribbean Community – CARICOM – for allegedly having moved too slowly on the Dominican Republic statelessness issue.

Dr Timothy Harris of Team Unity says the regional grouping should have moved much more speedily after learning of the September 23 constitutional court ruling in Santo Domingo set to make more than 210,000 Dominicans of Haitian descend stateless.

Dr Harris was asked about the matter on Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture.

“CARICOM is taking a stand belatedly.  CARICOM is losing its vitality, the office, the good office of CARICOM in relation to matters of governance is being undermined and is being whittled away,” Dr Harris alleged.

“I draw that parallel to show what is CARICOM’s stance in the context of a motion of no confidence in St Kitts being out in abeyance for 11 months – ‘well it’s not a matter in which we engage,’” Harris, who heads the three-party parliamentary group that controls six of the eleven elected seats in the federal parliament, told Winn FM’s The Bigger Picture.

Opposition MPs in Basseterre have repeatedly expressed disappointment that regional groupings CARICOM and the OECS have largely ignored the motion of no confidence issue in St Kitts and Nevis.

Dr Harris said in relation to the Dominican Republic matter, that CARICOM had to be pushed into addressing the issue by former Jamaican prime minister PJ Patterson.

“And I am saying that CARICOM must have a mechanism where on its own evaluation it responds quickly to challenge(s) to constitutional and democratic order in member states – Haiti is a member of CARICOM,” Dr Harris said.

However the Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States – Ambassador Albert Ramdin, says CARICOM is playing a critical role in trying to get the statelessness issue resolved.

“And we will continue to engage with the CARICOM Secretariat as well as with the political leadership at this point in CARICOM, on what is the best way forward,” Ambassador Ramdin told Winn FM.

At an OAS Meeting last week Wednesday where the Dominican Republic problem was discussed, the permanent representative of St Vincent and the Grenadines, La Celia Prince, spoke on behalf of CARICOM on the matter.

Countries in the region taking a serious look at the Dominican situation include Barbados.

That island’s Pan Africanist and Socialist Organizations have passed a resolution against the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court ruling to deny Citizenship to persons of Haitian decent born in the Dominican Republic.  

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