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Time to leave Barbados

Undocumented Guyanese nationals in Barbados may now be facing their final boarding call as Bajan immigration clears the runway for their departure from the land of the flying fish, homeward bound to the land of many waters.

But it’s not the farewell many Guyanese in the small island are looking forward to. If they would have their way, they would remain in Barbados, undocumented. Undocumented Caribbean nationals in Barbados are facing certain deportation if they do not make efforts to have their status regularized. The Barbadian authorities call it amnesty, Guyanese in the island call it discrimination.

The David Thompson administration is not backing down from its new immigration policy which threatens to throw thousands of Guyanese and other undocumented Caribbean nationals off the island. Barbados’s Foreign Affairs minister Maxine McLean is overlooking the new policy and makes it clear that there is nothing discriminatory about it. Speaking to capitol news at the just concluded OAS assembly in Honduras, Foreign Minister Mclean explained that there’s only so much Barbados can take when it comes to illegal immigrants.

But with the new policy, there could also be some new tricks. Some Guyanese who have already been sent packing off the island are promising to find their way back even if it means being denied entry every time they try. Barbados and Guyana have shared rocky relations on the immigration front for years. Guyanese have been flocking the island in search of jobs and new opportunities, greener pastures they. As far as Barbados may be concerned, the pastures are now brown and there’s no need for the illegal nationals to stick around.

But even those Caribbean nationals who are legal in the island are concerned, they say they are facing major problems having their work permits renewed. Foreign minister Maxine told me that work permits would continue to be issued as long as there is a need for workers.

Those undocumented nationals could find themselves fastening their seat belts for their return home as deportees as early as this December. Deportees who would be paying for their own tickets.

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