Haitians seeking to come to Barbados as a result of the lifting of the visa restriction will have to wait a while longer to get clarification on the process.
Barbados’ Ambassador to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) David Comissiong told Barbados TODAY that he, along with Chief Immigration Officer Wayne Marshall, and a Foreign Service Officer were scheduled to leave the island on Tuesday to head to Haiti for a meeting with Haitian authorities.
However, the meeting had to be postponed due to political unrest in that French speaking territory.
But according to Ambassador Comissiong, as soon as things are more “quiet” in Haiti, the delegation would be heading to that nation, to discuss the issue of Haitians coming to Barbados thinking they had the right to reside and work.
“We have to discuss with Haitian authorities how we can make the visa free travel more stable, and remove some of the problems we have been facing.
“We also have to look at the CARICOM skills national programme to see how some Haitians could participate in it without it being a negative brain drain from Haiti,” he said.
In December, a group of Haitians evicted from a house at Bonnetts, Brittons Hill, St Michael, called on local authorities to help them find temporary accommodation and to fund return tickets to their homeland after they found themselves stranded.
The young men said they had come here in search of a better life. They allegedly paid several thousand United States dollars to an agency in Haiti, that promised them not only a ticket to Barbados, but also accommodation and work once they got here.
The matter gained national attention, as weeks later the group was still unable to get back to Haiti and remained at the mercy of several local charities.
However, Comissiong said that highly anticipated meeting would be the setting to clear the air on the issues.
“We have ideas in mind that we will be seeking to implement, but of course we would want to discuss them with the Haitian authorities first and get their approval, so that we go forward in agreement between the two countries.
“There are indeed some changes we have to make, and that is the reason for going to Haiti. We have to improve the situation here so that the programme is more stable and that we cut out some of these problems. But unfortunately the trip had to be postponed,” the ambassador said.