Reader: Stranded Ghana International Airline Passengers Victims Of Barbados Human Rights Abuses

We understand that the following has been printed in the African news media (link here). It was sent to us by the author with a request to print it on this side of the Atlantic. No problem. It is printed as received with no changes at all…

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.

The lack of transparency and sensitivity by some of the newly elected ministers to this issue is of grave concern to this citizen of Barbados. Even if these people were victims of human trafficking as claimed the United Nations, to which Barbados is a signatory, is explicit on the treatment of victims of it and imprisonment, without recourse to access and support, is a violation of their human rights.

I urge all right thinking people of the world to make their displeasure and disgust at this situation be known, and the governments’ orders to silence the press on this issues needs to be counteracted.

The West Afrikans who are stranded here, even if they were victims of or willing participants in, the search for a better life, still deserve to be treated with respect and dignity. The fact that many who came are well established business people, journalists, students with families and wealth in their own country, would not choose Barbados, an island, as place to try and escape from. They’re not stupid.

There are members of the stranded who have visas to other countries and money to get themselves there and back home, however immigration is refusing to stamp their passports with the extensions needed(after the initial two week visit expired), so they can travel onwards legitimately. One brother had a visa and ticket for Cuba and was refused exit from Barbados. His USD$850 is down the drain.

Another sister returned from Trinidad after the initial flight was due to have left, and has been held, for 4 weeks with no contact with her family or friends, a rumor has spread that she had been raped. There are over 50 West Afrikan people in Trinidad who are now afraid to return to Barbados because of this situation. Some of these people have lost jobs back in Afrika and missing their children’s birthdays and life. Some have become sick on this slave diet of rice, which they are not accustomed to eating. Another sister had complications with her pregnancy and so much begging had to be done so she could get medical treatment.

If this had been a plane load of white people stranded, we know The government BTA, any other bandwagon jumper would be bending over backwards to assist with hotel accommodation, tours etc, until a flight could be procured for them, and you know they would not be here no damn two months later.

If Barbados does not grant these people extensions and legalize their status here, it will be impossible for some of them to ever travel again, with an overstay stamp in their passport. It is not their fault that they became stranded. I have travelled to Afrika, Ghana in particularly on many occasions and I can say without a doubt that if this situation was reversed they would never treat us in this manner. From the richest to the poorest, there is the upmost respect for us visitors, regardless of your colour.

So come on people stand up and shout outrage at this issue, and use whatever means you have to publicize this situation, so that we can let our brothers and sisters remain free.

Even whilst the replica slave ship “Amistad”, is being ‘celebrated’ in these shores, we are not learning from our history?

(author’s name withheld by request)

37 Comments

Filed under Barbados Tourism, Crime & Law, Traveling and Tourism

37 responses to “Reader: Stranded Ghana International Airline Passengers Victims Of Barbados Human Rights Abuses

  1. Adrian Loveridge

    We have now started to have a flood of emails from Nigeria, from individuals wishing to make an accommodation reservation for the purpose of visiting Barbados.

    *************

    BFP says,

    Are they genuine, Adrian? Or will you have to send them some money to receive your prize of new business? 😉

    Sorry… couldn’t help myself!

  2. Technician

    Be careful Adrian….for this year alone I have won over $ 400,ooo,000.00 from Nigeria. Not bad for a technician huh? How is that printer holding up?

  3. ok first off whats with the comment “slave diet of rice”? was the word slave needed in there at all? see the mentality of these guys from the continent? all right then! If you not happy with the slave diet go to bleep home.

    secondly and most infuriating. They keep mentioning how well-to-do the stranded persons are. If some of them are so affluent and rich cant they find a flight home. I mean they might not be able to get there directly but I’m sure they can find a london or paris connection

    there is so much misinformation here and this is just giving Barbados a bad name. I not saying we infallible but can you compare Barbados putting them up at the BDF base with the way America treats its Haitian and South American illegals?

    To the government of Barbados I say stop wasting tax payers money and get these people out as soon as possible. It is in your best interests.

  4. The Truth

    You need to thank these Africians and their ancestors.They sold you and all black people that do not live in that toliet called Africia.
    Who wants to go back………not me !!!!!

  5. Adrian Loveridge

    Technician…

    I know who to come to for a loan then?

    Printer is great – THANK YOU.

    Still waiting over two weeks to get second ADSL line connected though through C @ W.

  6. Technician

    Lol AL…..That loan would see us both at H.M.P Dodds. Glad to hear everything is fine…I’ll see about that line for you.

  7. Technician

    Jdid…..I met those ‘well to do ‘people one week after they came here and they could not even afford one night stay at the cheapest guest house on the south coast. When I looked at the amount of luggage per person, I knew right away that these people had no intention of ever returning.
    This was all a scam from the get go.
    My sister had some discrepancies in her travel documents once on a trip to Canada and she was detained in a holding facility for 2 weeks before being sent back to Barbados. What the GoB did was right.Some Judges, after having to issue bench warrants, remand people…that way, the Judges know where to find them when needed.

  8. So Long

    Easy to insult Africa and its people, after all, for as long as I can remember we have been fed a diet of hopelessness, war and destitution through imagery provided by the likes of the BBC, CNN and National Geographic. Sorry, and they are those spammers with get rich quick ideas (who knows they probably originate from Thailand but who cares, let’s bash the Africans). They always seem to know who to target, ain’ dat right Technician..? Et tu Adrian..?

  9. Technician

    Why is it that when there is a topic to discuss, people like So Long always have to play the ‘Woe is me African’ bull***t?
    I dealt with the facts as I saw them with my own two eyes at Salt Ash Hotel.I did not hear about it or read it on a blog. What I saw and heard brought me to the conclusion I made.
    Have you ever traveled?
    Who ever leaves home without as we Bajans say…vex money…in case shit hits the fan?
    Who would leave their home with almost all of their earthly possessions to take a vacation?

    Give me a break please!!

    Tell me where is this bashing Africans….I guess the US bashes Caribbean people then.There are rules governing entry to any country and if you fail to obey them ,then you pay the penalty.

    As to your nonsense about being fed that diet…remember this….you cannot be fed if you weren’t hungry.
    I used to swallow that BS, then I grew up and got wiser.
    Yes, Africa was robbed and raped by Europe, that one can never deny. It was also ruled for years by black men who had all these grand plans, are you still going to blame the Europeans for Africa’s demise?
    I think it is you who have a chip the size of Africa on your shoulder sir ….I certainly don’t.

  10. Technician

    So Long
    April 13, 2008 at 2:11 pm

    Easy to insult Africa and its people, after all, for as long as I can remember we have been fed a diet of hopelessness, war and destitution through imagery provided by the likes of the BBC, CNN and National Geographic.
    —————————————————————————————
    WOW…….then that must explain why Lagos looks so much like Manhattan…or London then. 🙂

  11. eureka

    All I will say to this precarious position that these west africans have found themselves in is: “we humans are our own worse enemies”. The maltreatment that we mete out to each other is sometimes far worse than what you would normally expect from a wild animal.

    I will go to my grave saying that we ought to be careful of what we dish out to others because one future day, it will come right back to haunt us. Just as the bible said: “cast your bread on the water that you shall find it after many days.”

  12. Fred

    Barba(KKK)dos 😦

  13. Hants

    http://www.macalester.edu/geography/courses/geog261/eskidmore/genfacts.htm

    The Ghanian Government is responsible for its citizens.
    These travellers are not refugees.

    Nevertheless Barbadians should be kind to them until they leave.

  14. Sam Gamgee

    Seems somebody somewhere believes that since the gov’t of B’dos did not put up these unfortunate people at Sandy Lane indefinitely, then they are being mistreated. Imagine that doh neh!
    I think they are being treated very well considering all things.
    And I thought I lived in an idealistic world. Just goes to show.

  15. Technician

    Hants….my sentiments exactly. These people are not seeking asylum. They are not running away in fear of death or persecution…they came on a holiday.
    Holiday is over now.
    If they had came in on their own accord, one by one or in small groups, we would never have known.
    Instead they came on a chartered flight with all the pomp and pageantry. It is obvious that they would have attracted the attention they now have.
    As you have said..and I agree….The Ghanaian Government is responsible for its citizens.
    These travelers are not refugees. I think the average Bajan has been kind to them, there was a collection at my workplace for them and we all chipped in….but let us not lose sight of the issue at hand.

  16. So Long

    Hants,
    The unemployment in Barbados is around 18% when you include the ‘undefined’ voluntary idle (includes me of course, without relevant contracts to sustain me, surely).

    Fred, bang on the mark. I am from this point on your Negro.

    Eureka, with respect… Wake to f’’k up.

    Technician, Please give one example when Lagos was portrayed for the benefit of the rank and file (compliments BBC and the rest of the cartel)?

    Techy, my chip is a badge of honour. You insult my intelegence again and I will take you out.

  17. So Long

    Sam Gamgee
    Think of the bigger picture. Barbados as a link to the Meditation that avoids Heathrow. Come on, back off friend. There are larger issues at stake here.

  18. So Long

    Blogs need spell checks

  19. boredickey

    I wish government success in rounding up all these criminals and deport them. I am not politically correct; they knew exactly what they were doing before boarding the plane for the cross Atlantic trip. I even read in the Nation’s Saturday edition where some of them already had shotgun marriages pending.

    I’ll even suggest that we give David (Eric-fly communist)Comissiong; idot racist Trevor Prescod; A.S>S Hole Henderson Bovell; and “hey guys please notice me” Hammbone Lashley, a free one way trip on the same aircraft back to their motherland. These pathetic bunch of sore loosers are the ones Rawle Eastmond refer -red to when he spoke about demonic forces within the Barbados Labour Party. The party claimed he had a rush of sugar to the brain…ha ha.

    These demonic forces are hard to rebuke and condem to the swine. They are all over the airways now, still acting in shock at loosing governmental power. I even saw the oxen looking one a couple Saturday’s ago giving a BLP speech on MY TV. I could not understand how that happened. Now we have Lynette Eastmond-Parris acting like an expert on the airways. She was a BIGGG failure as Consumer Affairs Minister. Politics is just not her thing she hasn’t realised this yet.

    She needs to go and concentrate on trying to have a child for the man she recently married on the re-bound after the first planned marriage in Miami failed.

  20. So Long

    Have you any idea about the White and Asian humanoids (politically correct) that have settled here within the past 40 years. What the f”t is your problem?

  21. So Long

    Let’s do this

  22. limphead

    boredickey,
    wha loss, wid all dat talk, you just give me an erection.just luv these blogs.

  23. samizdat

    “We understand that the following has been printed in the African news media (link here). It was sent to us by the author with a request to print it on this side of the Atlantic. ”

    BFP, I don’t get it. Why are you reprinting this? It’s the exact same article you posted in another thread just a few days ago (see link below).

    Also, what’s all this stuff about “print it on this side of the Atlantic”?

    Clearly, this is a local (Global Pan Afrikan) piece that was posted on an African site, not “African” in origin at all.

    Some clarification, please…

    https://barbadosfreepress.wordpress.com/2008/04/10/barbados-government-begins-arresting-stranded-ghana-international-airlines-passengers-detainees-refused-legal-representation/

    ************************

    BFP says,

    Hello Samizdat

    There are a few things happening here…

    1. Yes it is a reprint, and we think it deserves to stand on its own, rather than be an add-on to another article as it originally appeared.

    2. We never said it was African in origin. We are unaware of the author and said so.

    3. Yes, it was “printed” in the African online community.

    4….. and the pure truth is…

    Even though we will let the second article stand where it is featured, the BFP person who posted it was not the same person who posted it as part of the first article. In other words, when it was posted the second time as a feature, the BFP editor didn’t realize that another BFP editor had already posted it as part of an earlier article. 🙂

    Too many cooks ’bout hey!

  24. Technician

    Techy, my chip is a badge of honour. You insult my intelegence again and I will take you out.
    ————————————————————————-

    Your intelligence was insulted the moment you typed your first comment guy.
    Sticks and stones brother….sticks and stones…

    Take me out…….LOL……you must really think I am the same sheep you are.
    Pick a number and get in line fool.

  25. samizdat

    Ok guys, thanks. I get it now. I think…

    Incidentally, has Ikael made any public comments on the fiasco?

    Slightly off-topic but still relevant in that it’s about Africa (specifically Zimbabwe), there’s a very interesting article I came across yesterday posted on the UK Guardian website (see link below).

    If – like me – you’re sceptical of the motives and racial biases of Pan-Africanists who seek relentlessly to dump blame on “the white man” for all Africa’s troubles, this article (written by a white British journalist) provides some real food for thought…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/apr/13/zimbabwe

  26. samizdat

    Fred writes:

    “Barba(KKK)dos”

    So long writes:

    “Fred, bang on the mark. I am from this point on your Negro.”

    Interesting. Possibly the two stupidest comments I’ve ever read on BFP…

  27. Casual observer

    I really don’t understand what is so complicated about this issue. Non-residents came to a country and were granted a definite deadline by which they had to leave. Once that deadline passes, the Immigration Department should scoop them up and put them all in a holding centre until they can be deported. It is a clear violation of the terms of the “agreement” between them and the B’dos government.

    If the deadline was Feb 15th, I think they’re lucky immigration didn’t hold them on Feb 16th! Stop giving this story more attention than it deserves.

  28. So Long

    If being a fool makes me different to you toads, damn great to be alive. And Techy, imagine that line must be very long, assuming that there are a lot of people out there with brains between their ears. Amaizing you still have a mouth (or fingers to type).

  29. So Long

    By the way techy, lol — laugh out loud. Hmm any idea what kma stands for?

    *********************

    BFP says,

    Both of you reel it in now or take your fight elsewhere. If you insist upon using the comments section for this purpose, you leave us little choice.

    Fair warning.

    george

  30. Thewhiterabbit

    Here we are presented with a practical example of rendering under Ceasar what is Caesar’s, and rendering unto….. Clearly the Ghanaians have overstayed their alloted “contract” and Caesar has the right to exact his due and gather them in for rapid transport elsewhere. At the same time we have to recognize that regardless of what their original intentions might have been, the overstay is not their fault and they should be treated as we would like to be treated ourselves were we in similar straights (or is it straits???). Humanity requires that we deal with them fairly but expeditiously, decently, with human love and dignity. If we can treat them so then we show our maturity as a people, as a country, and as fellow humans. If we do at all otherwise then we lose our claim to being civilized. As it is we are fast creating our own version of the fellow who was stuck in the airport for a year because the country in which his passport was issued had ceased to exist and he was literally a man without a country. Soon at your local theatre “Stuck in Barbados”!

  31. Share scammers ‘targeted elderly Brits’
    By James Quinn in New York

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/global/main.jhtml?xml=/global/2008/03/14/noindex/wscam113.xml

    A father and daughter accused of scamming approximately 15,000 elderly British investors out of more than $70m (£34.5m) could face up to 25 years in prison if convicted after being arrested in the United States.

    The pair were remanded in Florida after a widespread investigation involving law enforcement agencies on both sides of the Atlantic. The duo were allegedly involved in what is commonly known as a “boiler room” scam – enticing individuals to invest in fake shares in public companies through high-pressure sales techniques.

    They are accused of taking over the identities of dormant public companies, which they then convinced investors to plough money in to.
    In total, they allegedly convinced their victims to transfer more than $70m in to various bank accounts in Florida and elsewhere in the US.

    Deputy Chief Inspector Robert Wishart, head of the Money Laundering Unit at the City of London Police, said: “This is part of an ongoing investigation into a mass marketing crime scam known as boiler room fraud.

    “Thousands of British people have fallen victim to this crime – in this inquiry alone, we estimate that around 15,000 mostly elderly people have lost money.”

    Mr Gunter, 58, and Ms Gunter, 25, originally of Oldsmar, Florida, were charged with conspiring to commit and committing mail fraud, securities fraud and money laundering. If convicted the pair could face penalties of between five and 25 years in jail, as well as a fine of twice the total gain to the defendants, or twice the total loss to victims, whichever is more.

  32. Fred

    samizdat whatever…

    Ever since this issue started I have read the most ignorant posts on this blog… Go back and read all the articles where this topic came up and you will realize that the KKK label is at least somewhat relevant!

  33. Send Them Home!

    This whole issue does get me vex. If this were a bunch of Guyanese, there would be no discussion. Ninety or more per cent of Barbadians would have demanded that they be returned home.

    The issue, as I see it, is: Visitors came to Barbados. The plane to take them back home did not return. Therefore they overstayed their welcome. News accounts came out that some were in pretty bad condition, not having a proper place to stay, food to eat etc.

    GoB is housing them at a centre where they will be clothed, fed, and sheltered until a plane will be chartered to take them back home. What is the fuss here? Why are David Commissiong et al kicking up dust over a non-existent problem? Why are some of these Ghanaians talking a bunch of crap about how they can’t go outside? They feel they’re at Coney Island?

    Regardless of their race, ladies and gents, they are not here legally. The illegal Guyanese get shuttled out by Immigration (although they do tend to get back in fairly fast, it’s true!) When the boat people get picked up by the US coast guard they get shipped right back where they came from.

    Don’t even get me started on this whole “cultural exchange” sh***! Tell me this, BFPers. If the average wage in Ghana is $X and a ticket to come to Barbados is, let’s say, worth 10 times more $X, what does that tell you about the people coming here? Coming for cultural exchange or coming to make a better life for themselves? Even the tour operator (forget his name right now) was tempted to go to the police when he realised that things were fishy.

    Look, don’t get me wrong. I know we in the Caribbean are just as guilty of this. West Indian people over the years have done the same thing in the States, Canada and UK. Many of us have relatives over there who can’t get on an airplane and come back home to Barbados because they would not be able to return. In addition, you also have to say ‘there for the grace of God, go I’. It could be us in another 50 years, you never know how bad things will get.

    But the issue is this: our government is doing the best it can under the circumstances. The Ghanaians, based on what has been shown in the press, are not being ill-treated or abused at Paragon. In fact, our government is “bending over backwards” to help them out. Where the hell is their government?

    Send them to france back home! End of story.

    p.s. As much as I hate to agree with D. Commissiong, he does have a point re: if Europeans or those of the Caucasian race were stranded here. Government would have put them up in hotels or private rooms so that the word would spread about how lovely and friendly these Bajans are!

  34. Send Them Home!

    Also wanted to add:

    Just because a Bajan overseas defrauds hundreds of people in his country doesn’t mean all Bajans are scammers. Likewise, every Ghanaian can’t be linked to these African internet scams. Fair is fair.

    Some of the Ghanaians I think were genuinely misled or taken advantage of in their quest to get a better life for themselves. And you can’t blame a man (or woman) for trying to live like a decent human being. As much as we talk now, if things were real hard in Barbados, you would really see people falling off their lofty pedestals. Food trucks getting rob in Trinidad, here? T&T ain’t too far from here.

    That said, however, I repeat what I said in my first post: they’re not here legally, they’ve overstayed their welcome, send them home. Don’t allow the pan-africaners to muddy up the waters because the people involved here are Black as opposed to Indian. Furthermore, if they’re so concerned about Africans in general, let them do what Aja did: Raise awareness and donations in Barbados and help them, not live comfortable in Bim and talk a bunch of crap. My problem with them lot is that they’re extremely reactive, and very hardly proactive.

  35. Dee

    Casual observer
    i don’t think you even know what you are saying and am sure you have not travell outside your home country before.Man u need to go out and see what is applicable elsewhere insteasd of posting bad comment on the net. Do you think kit is wise for Govt to still keep the Africans in paragon with all this increase in gas and other product, Will the Govt. be able to continue to really feed this pple as much as they ought to knowing fully well that there are a lot of bajan that will also be interested in “free food”. we need to be considerate at times.

  36. Casual observer

    Dee,
    In most places (including Barbados), foreign visitors are required to leave after a set time. After that time is up the respective immigration departments usually find them, gather them up and see that they are sent back home.

    I’ll assume you misunderstood my earlier comment. I don’t mean that the gov’t should start running a hotel at Paragon and I don’t think I implied that. However, they do need to gather them all together so that when (if) the time comes for them to be deported, we know exactly where they are.

    I’m actually living outside my “home country” of Barbados right now and have been for the past 5 years. Honestly, I don’t even see how that’s relevant to the discussion.

  37. Dee

    Casual observer,
    ok, i understand u right. sry