CARICOM WELCOME: Region relaxes visa requirements for Haitians

A woman prays and sings in a street in Port-au-Prince January 15, 2010. As many as 200,000 people died in Tuesday's earthquake that devastated Haiti and three-quarters of the capital, Port-au-Prince, will need to be rebuilt, authorities in the Caribbean country said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

ROSEAU, Dominica, CMC – Two Caribbean countries Friday relaxed the visa requirements for Haitians entering their countries as the region continued to react to the powerful earthquake that hit the French speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country on Tuesday.

National Security and Immigration, Charles Savarin announced Thursday that government had taken a decision to extend the stay of all Haitians already on island by an additional six months until the situation in Haiti stabilizes.

“Those who are here, they should go to the immigration authorities and have their stay extended by six months in light of the developments which have taken place,” he said.

But as the Haitians gathered outside the Immigration Office in the capital, the public relations officer with the Dominica Police Force, Inspector Claude Weekes, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) the Haitian nationals would have to comply with most of the immigration measures as they sought to regularise their status.

“We need to be very careful that even if the National Security Minister extended a hand of assistance, it does not mean that the immigration laws of Dominica are going to be suspended.

“It will be done in an approved manner by following the law within the legal framework to assist the Haitians,” Weekes said, noting that the EC$50(US$18.50) fee and the return ticket were no longer required.

Many callers to radio talk shows had earlier raised concerns that many of the Haitians would not have been able to meet the fee and produce a valid return ticket in order to have their stay extended.

Meanwhile, The Turks and Caicos Islands said it has taken a decision to temporarily suspend the deportation of Haitian nationals found to be residing illegally in the British Overseas Territory.

“ All the usual border control and surveillance measures will of course remain,” the government said in a statement, adding “to those people from Haiti living in the Turks and Caicos Islands we extend our sympathy at this very difficult time as they wait for news of loved ones in Haiti”.

Jamaica said it was also bracing for an influx of Haitian fleeing their country.

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Major Richard Reece, said that government agencies have come up with an action plan to respond to the situation.

“All the agencies responsible for surveillances, screening and processing have been alerted. What we ask is that if the public identifies refugees either arriving or in their community that they make a report to the local police.

“Following that, the reception team will be assembled to screen and process, which is very important especially as it relates to the medical examination of the individuals,” said Reese, adding that temporary location had already been identified to house the Haitian.

Haiti was rocked by a powerful 7.3 magnitude earthquake on Tuesday leaving a trail of death and destruction.

A woman prays and sings in a street in Port-au-Prince January 15, 2010. As many as 200,000 people died in Tuesday's earthquake that devastated Haiti and three-quarters of the capital, Port-au-Prince, will need to be rebuilt, authorities in the Caribbean country said on Friday. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins.

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16 Comments

  1. mopn
    January 22, 2010

    That so called supersaver, you to crawl back in the hole u you come from. What happened in Haiti could have happen any else in the caribbean, as somebody mentioned Earlier we are on a volcanic arc and tomorrows not promise. I appreciate what the government decided to do. Dominica thanks for your help And god bless, and please everyone pray for the people in Haiti.

  2. haitianbabes
    January 20, 2010

    WHEN YOUR NEIGHBOUR’S HOUSE CATCH FIRE, WET YOURS, FOR TODAY IS THEIRS, TOMMOROW MIGHT BE YOUR TURN, GOD WORKS IN MYSTERIOUS WAYS.

  3. Loyalty God and Dominica
    January 19, 2010

    Dominica already has 5-10,000 Haitians, when u do that in de 6 months u’ll have 20-30,000 Haitians in de country and they are of no benefit, they’ll only cripple the economy.

    I say this cuase most Haitians here (unlike Dominicans in other neighboring islands) are mostly illiterate and have no job skills whatsoever, which means they are not a huge benefit to the labour force. Also every dollar they make, at least 70% goes back to Haitian which only helps drain the little money we have in the country. And with all the money they deprive the country of the country still has to drain its resourceful as they are a burden to our health, educational and social sectors.

    i mean yes we can help with but sayin take 5000 Haitians, extend there stay by a year and i even heard people make comments like GIVE Haitians land in Dominica, com’on its going to far. These people have their voodoo culture and i don’t wont it in D/ca.

    And once again, Haitians in Dominica can’t be compared to Dominicans in Antigua or eslewhere.

  4. January 18, 2010

    Thats a good move, but it could have extended for at least one year.
    Now till July, they will still be retrieving bones under concret.

    Hoping Dominicans will accept them, avoid conflicts.

    Can remember the conflict in Guadelope with Haitians, Dominicans and
    Guadelopian. Stay cool!

  5. John
    January 17, 2010

    Why do they make those haitians pay for extension if it was free? some of these guyz pay $ 450.00 EC just for extention of stay, that’s wickedness!!!!!!!!!

  6. by the cross
    January 17, 2010

    i am very happy to see how dominicans are extending their hands to the haitians.we share your sorrow .it could have been our island.service done well here on earth will recieve a well done in heaven

  7. $uper$aver
    January 17, 2010

    HEY ENGRAS! OF COURSE THEY CAN YOU MUST COME AND SEE THEM ON EASTERN PARKWAY ON LABOUR DAY..all dominicans in hiding comes green card or not i just see them when i go up to neww york for labour day and u must see them in canada for caribana or in maimi for carnival so..LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE AND GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS

  8. observer
    January 17, 2010

    I believe that all the OECS Islands to lend a hand by allowing at least up to 5000 Haitians in for at least one year.Help like this is much needed. To GOD be the glory.

  9. Homeboy
    January 17, 2010

    Dorcent Haiti était le premier pais dans l’ouest qui avait reçu independence du monde. Nous sommes toujours content pour aider nos frères et nos sœurs de Haiti.

    Oh and never mind the foolish comments like the person calling themself. $uper $aver.. Because Dominica is just as vulnerable to the devastation experienced in Haiti.. All the Caribbean Islands are on the volcanic arc, making volcanic eruptions and earthquakes a part of everyday life..

    J’espère que Yahweh béni ton pays et les gens d’Haiti..

  10. January 17, 2010

    $uper$aver, at least we will know the status of all Haitians,do you think that Dominicans can do the same in the US or elsewhere?

  11. January 17, 2010

    TO GOD BE THE GLORY GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE, GOD IS GOOD ALL THE TIME AND ALL THE TIME GOD IS GOOD. I AM VERY HAPPY THAT THE HATIAN STAY CAN BE EXTENDED AND TO BE HONNEST THAT IS ONE OF THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED. WE NEVER KNOW WHERE WE ARE GOING TO FALL TOMORROW, WE NEVER KNOW WHO WE ARE GOING TO GET HELP FROM, AS SOMEONE MENTIONED DURING HURRICANE DAVID WE NEED HELP AND GUESS WHAT WE DID GOT HELP SO NOW IT IS OUR TURN TO HELP ANOTHER COUNTRY, ANOTHER NATION, ANOTHER SISTER, ANOTHER BROTHER, ANOTHER FAMILY, ANOTHER FRIEND. DOMINICA JUST BE KIND AND HELPFUL TO THOSE HATIANS WHO ARE AT HOME AND MAKE THEM FEEL WELCOME JUST AS YOU WOULD LIKE TO FEEL WHEN OR IF YOU GO TO ANOTHER MAN’S COUNTRY.

  12. January 16, 2010

    these people need at list a year it looks like savarin don/t know what these people are going through i can/t understand how some people heart is so hard .the Haitians are humans oh god i need u all to whatch that movie 2012 thank u jesus we loves u blessings .

  13. Dorcent Darius
    January 16, 2010

    Im a haitian nationality living in dominica,im very suprise to see how dominican show how much they loves our haitians brothers and im very happy to see that.i dont know how to thanks dominicans for the love they showing to us,as we know already that dominica is a bless island may god keep on blessing that island with all those natural resources. Once again thanks to all dominican brothers and sisters for assist us

  14. $uper$aver
    January 16, 2010

    WELL THANK GOD! now all the haitians can come out form hiding!

  15. January 16, 2010

    My prayers and sympathy go out to the people of Haiti.
    Hope my people show what kind of people we really are, kind and sympathetic.
    Remember after hurricane David , we needed help from the rest of the world.
    So please be kind to those Haitians living on the island.
    May God continue to bless our nature island.

  16. THE TRUTH
    January 16, 2010

    My heart goes out to these people. Its seems like they always going through something terrible and now this. But I know go will get them through this.

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