Leaders of the sub-regional Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) have denounced a ruling by the Constitutional Court in the Dominican Republic that renders stateless thousands of people of Haitian descent.
“We deeply regret the failure of the government of the Dominican Republic to take corrective measures. Accordingly, we call on the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) of which our individual countries are also members, to suspend immediately any consideration of the application by the Dominican Republic for membership of CARICOM,” said the leaders in a communiqué after meeting in Montserrat last week.
In describing the constitutional court’s ruling as “repulsive and discriminatory,” the OECS leaders also called on other regional and hemispheric organizations such as the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to “speak out unequivocally in condemnation of this ruling.
“The individual and collective voices of all who believe in and are committed to human rights and justice for all must now be raised to urge the Dominican Republic to right this terrible wrong,” the communiqué said.
A special meeting of the CARICOM Bureau to discuss the court ruling was expected to be held in Trinidad and Tobago on Tuesday.
It would be chaired by host Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar, who also chairman of the 15-member regional grouping.
The CARICOM Bureau comprises Prime Minister Persad Bissessar; her St. Vincent and the Grenadines counterpart, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; and the President of Haiti, Michel Martelly.
The meeting was also expected to be attended by CARICOM Secretary General Irwin La Rocque.
Gonsalves, who has been very critical of the Dominican Republic court ruling, has written two letters to the President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, warning that St. Vincent and the Grenadines would oppose his country’s application for membership to CARICOM, as well as seek its suspension from the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM).
The OECS comprises Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands.