Prime Minister, David Thompson (FP)??
"Bring the evidence, come with facts; come with actual incidents and experiences, or leave the good name of Barbadians and of Barbados alone!"
This challenge was issued by Prime Minister David Thompson during a statement on migration last Saturday, June 27, at the Grace Adams Suite, Grantley Adams International Airport.
The Prime Minister was referring to reports related to the manner in which the "growing problem of undocumented, illegal and unchecked migration in Barbados" was being dealt with since the implementation of a policy on June 1, to tackle the issue.
"Much of the bizarre stories peddled on blog sites, talk show programmes, in newspaper columns and asserted by so-called professional thinkers, are untrue and without foundation. There is no evidence to corroborate or even create a circumstantial setting for such incidents to have taken place," Mr. Thompson stressed.
He revealed that data compiled by the police and immigration departments for the period June 1 to 26, showed that visits were made to 15 residences on June 9, 11, and 13, between 3:30 and 6:30 a.m.
The Prime Minister noted that these visits led to the detention and removal of 47 non-nationals, 34 of whom were Guyanese, who were in the country illegally.
"Eight persons were deported, four of whom were Guyanese. The latter were deported for the following reasons: theft; overstaying and possession of a false work permit stamp; overstaying; and being destitute and deception," he stated.
Mr. Thompson observed that 177 persons had their stay extended, 71 of whom were Guyanese. Additionally, the Prime Minister said that 380 applications for renewal of short-term work permits were received, 294 of which were on behalf of Guyanese nationals.??
"I have no reason to believe that the majority of these applications will not be approved. The above suggests in my opinion that the level of activity by Immigration and Police officers during this period does not in any way represent any hardening of attitude or abrasive action towards Guyanese nationals," he reiterated.
The Prime Minister made it clear that the Government of Barbados had never, did not and would never "sanction, condone or even turn a blind eye to the issue of degradation or denial of human rights to anyone visiting or resident on its shores".
He warned: "Some of the so called personal accounts I have heard are sickening, to the point where if evidence to substantiate them is provided, maximum disciplinary action will be taken against the individual or individuals concerned. Unprofessional conduct will not be tolerated under my watch!"
Mr. Thompson pointed out that he had invited all aggrieved persons to supply some sort of evidence. "Give us something to work with. But do not expect us to run away from the management of this issue, because of emotional tirades played out in the press. That will simply not happen!??? he advised.