New immigration mechanism for CARICOM citizens in Antigua

passportCaribbean Community (Caricom) and other nationals living in Antigua and Barbuda, who believe that they are being denied citizenship, should soon have a new mechanism to make their case.

The government in St. John’s on Thursday announced plans to set up an Immigration Appeals Tribunal while not implementing new taxes this financial year.

The pronouncements were made in the Throne Speech delivered by Governor General Rodney Williams ahead of the budget presentation on Monday.

In his first speech from the throne, Williams says the Government is working to get the Immigration Appeals tribunal up and running by March.

CARICOM nationals residing there have long complained that they are unfairly being denied the right to citizenship even though they have been lawfully resident for the prescribed period of seven years.

Antigua and Barbuda’s population of 89,000 persons is made up significant numbers of Guyanese, Jamaicans, and nationals of Trinidad and Tobago, and the Spanish-speaking Dominican Republic.

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9 Comments

  1. CYRIL Volney
    January 11, 2015

    “There is a lot of ad hoc policies going on in the region in conflict with the agreements made at Caricom level. These people must stop these bureaucratic useless red tape and move on if they really mean what they say about freedom of movement”. Well said. We now have Dominican policemen at that (expletive deleted) WOZO immigration center dictating foreign policy and overriding Caricom agreements like the Grand Anse Declaration. Caricom citizens are entitled to live in Caricom Countries. OECS citizens are entitled to work in OECS Countries.

  2. Ma Moses
    January 10, 2015

    But why Caricom citizens want Antiguan citizenship so bad if we are all supposed to be one? They can even vote in the local elections. Any citizen of a Commonwealth country can. Are they ashamed of their own citizenship say from Guyana, Jamaica or Trinidad? I wonder if any of the many Dominicans living in Antigua feel the same and would prefer an Antiguan passport to their own from Dominica?

  3. lawd
    January 9, 2015

    I wonder why would anyone wants to be a citizen of Antigua .pleaseeee I dont even like the place muchless to be a ciitizen of that Island …give me a break !!!

    • PS
      January 9, 2015

      For a start you would get visa-free access to Canada and the E.U., which you can not get with a Dominican passport.

  4. Me
    January 9, 2015

    So is Caricom just a talking shop? Mr. Skerrit recently appointed a Minister specially for Caricom affairs. Are thing that complicated considering that we already have a Dominican as head of that organisation? And why don’t we have true free circulation of goods between the Caricom countries for instance like they have in the EU., which incidentally also enjoys far lower import duties than we do? Seems all we’re good at is talking with everyone zealously guarding his/her little fiefdom.

  5. JoJo
    January 9, 2015

    i don’t fully understand why Caricom citizens living in Antigua would want to swap their own country’s nationality for that of Antigua when it is the same Caricom passport they already have. I suspect it has more to do with the visa privileges that Antigua citizens enjoy compared with the others and that may make the Antigua authorities cautious in case they jeopardize that status by giving their passport to other Caricom citizens from countries that have restrictions.

    • Thor
      January 9, 2015

      The countries that have raise objections to the citizenship programs are not worried about people who obtain their citizenship by way of residency. It is the instant citizens that pose the most threat.

      These countries are just too bureaucratic. My wife is going through the similar issue with useless bureaucracy in her home country. Her birth certificate has an “e” at the end of her name. She has never spelt her name with that “e”. All her other legal documents include passports issued by that country never had an “e”. She needs her birth certificate to access a government service and they will not give it to her. She provided them with all the documents they asked for. But they will not give her a birth certificate.

      • Titiwi
        January 9, 2015

        Thor, in Dominica that would be no problem. They simply tear up the incorrect certificate and give you a new one. Cost $5.00. Seriously, we are more flexible at that.

  6. Pedro
    January 9, 2015

    These regional governments and their Caricom policies make me puke. Clearly the government of Antigua knows which are the denied citizenship requests. Why should people have to make a case again? Recently though they admitted that residents of other Caricom countries no longer needed to have work permits, they were requesting people to pick up any permits applied for and other to “regularize” their status. Really? Does that make sense? Why are they still holding on to vestages of the past? Why did we even have Caricom passports? There is alot of adhoc policies going on in the region in conflict with the agreements made at Caricom level. These people must stop these bureaucratic useless redtape and move on if they really mean what they say about freedome of movement.

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