“Two of the men, unaware of the round-up, were picked up on the boardwalk right outside the Immigration Office by an undercover policeman, moments after their visit to see the historic boat Amistad.” ... from a newspaper account (link here)
“When a delegation, including legal representation, asked to see the people held at Parragon, they were refused access. “… from a press release at the end of this page
So Much For The New Dawn Of African Travel & Business!
The Barbados Government is rounding up the Ghana International Airlines passengers who flew from Africa to Barbados on February 1, 2008 and were then left stranded when the aircraft never returned. The Nation News says about 100 of the passengers are still on the island and that they are being taken to Paragon military base, Christ Church where they will be held until… well, nobody is really sure about when they are going back or how.
Some of the stranded passengers were heard yelling that they want to stay in Barbados and work.
Well… Yes, of course. The whole thing was a scam as we wrote in our March 8, 2008 article The Great African Tourist Scam Of 2008 – Ghana International Airlines Knew They Weren’t Returning To Barbados!
That is not to say that everybody on the airplane knew what was happening, but according to Shona’s brother who drives a taxi, the demographics of the flight were all wrong. There was hardly a woman on the flight and most of the passengers were single, fairly young men.
So, something had to be done, but we hope that all these folks are properly looked after and handled by the authorities with as much respect and dignity (and as gently) as possible under the circumstances. We say “under the circumstances” because it is obvious that some (many?) don’t want to return home under any conditions. There were some punches thrown as a few tried to get away.
Still, as we said before, what did the government authorities who arranged for the charter flight think was going to happen? Folks from Ghana and Nigeria don’t need a visa to come to Barbados, and that worked fine when everyone had to route through London, but when you lay on a direct flight that is a whole new world!
Detainees Denied Legal Representation!
One of our readers posted something a few minutes ago, and I think we’ll repost it here. We have no idea of the source, so perhaps someone could let us know. It appears that lawyers who represent some of the detainees were turned away by the military at the barracks where they are being held.
This must not be allowed to happen. Read the below press release for details.
First, here are the links to a few background stories, including the current stories in The Nation News…
Nation News – Africans urged to turn selves in
Nation News – In Custody
Now The Comment Left At Barbados Free Press – Source Unknown
STRANDED WEST AFRIKANS VICTIMS OF HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES
Tuesday morning, April 7th 2008,a press conference was held at the Israel Lovell Foundation, My Lord’s Hill, to plead the case for more than 96 West Afrikans stranded in Barbados since February 15th 2008, when their chartered flight did not return to collect them.
The men and women had come originally to Barbados; some wanting to experience the cultural delights of the Trinidad carnival and others had other missions of trade, youth development conferences and just the opportunity to visit family and friends.
It is now more than two months that they are waiting for some resolution to the issue of return home. Most are still fending for themselves; paying rent or being supported by Barbadian families. Some members of the group however are struggling and not eating adequately and are being threatened with eviction. To this end the press conference was held to highlight their need for assistance.
However, the government of Barbados seemed to have a different idea as to why the West Afrikans were here and have chosen to criminalize the stranded with the arrest and interment at the military base Paragon in Christ Church, of 30 people, who reported to immigration as requested Tuesday morning at 10 am. Nothing has been heard from them since, their possessions have not been collected, and there is still no word as to their status.
A local Pan Afrikan organization, the Global Afrikan Congress, has been offering support to some individuals throughout their stay and are outraged at the treatment of these human beings, who have committed no offenses worthy of being treated in this manner. When a delegation, including legal representation, asked to see the people held at Parragon, they were refused access.
It is understandable that the government, with a view to providing a plane for them to return home, would want to have all those in need in a central location, however it is not acceptable that these people be kept against their will. They should be free to come and go. Those who are comfortable with family and friends should be allowed to stay there until news of the planes departure is known. Continue reading