Minister for Justice, Immigration and National Security, Rayburn Blackmore, says that a new system is being formulated for the issuance of visas for Haitians and things are moving in the right direction in that regard.
His remarks come in light of a suspension on visas for Haitian nationals earlier this year.
“We are just waiting to have the administrative system put in place and in due time the public will be apprised as to the direction,” he noted, while addressing the matter on state-owned DBS Radio’s “Talking Point” on Monday.
He added, “As I said, the intention is to have a proper vetting system and if persons were issued visas of work permits to work on a farm, we have to know where that farm is, and we have to ensure that we do not facilitate an enterprise whereby persons come into the country, legally and leave illegally.”
He added that with the new system, Haitians can apply themselves from Haiti via Quick Pack and there will be a vetting process and then the application will be returned to applicants via mail.
“So that is being done to ensure that we have a proper checks and balances and management of the process going forward,” he noted.
Blackmoore said the system has been reviewed and the intention is to make it as transparent as possible.
“The intention is to have a system where by it can be more transparent, number one, and whereby we can have a quality system because that is critical going forward,” he noted.
Blackmoore added that Dominica cannot have a closed-door approach non-immigrants but noted that controlling the border is critical.
“As I have said before, the controls of your borders is very critical because Dominica does not operate or exist in a vacuum. The partnerships that we develop with our friends, which have been historic, are critical to our advancement, at the same time we cannot have a closed-door approach to non-immigrants. That is critical,” Blackmore said.
Earlier this year, the government suspended the issuance of visas for Haitians, but many questions remain unanswered as a damning memo purportedly from the Labour Commissioner, Matthew LeBlanc, dated January 12, 2015 to Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit received much attention.
In that memo, LeBlanc stated that his many efforts at dealing with the matter of irregularities in the issuing of visas to Haitian nationals have been “vetoed,” and called for an investigation into claims of irregularities at the Labour Division.
But the Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit indicated that there will be no investigation into the issuance of visas to Haitian nationals in Dominica, pointing out that “certain systems” are being put in place by the government to prevent “certain things” from happening.