Tag Archives: Guyana

Report: All mail for Barbados cut open in Guyana

Barbados Postal Service

Guyana Post Office investigating, contacting Barbados Postal Service

What’s the story, folks? Any other incidents?

by Cynthia Nelson

On December 31, 2013, I had a visit from the postman. This is a rare occurrence in Barbados, since he usually just drops my mail in my mailbox and continues along. Today he ensured that he saw me.

He gave me my mail, two pieces of which were Christmas cards from Guyana. He then told me that instead of putting them in the mailbox as usual, he wanted me to receive them in person so that he could let me know that the mail was cut open and re-taped in Guyana. The mailman said he did not know why, but all of the mail that came from Guyana had been cut open and then taped up again.

When I examined my mail carefully, both envelopes from Guyana, which had nothing but Christmas cards in them, had been cut open and then taped up.

There was a Guyana Post Office stamp on the cut and taped part of the envelopes. Apart from the ends that were cut open, the envelopes looked scruffy, like they had seen better days. They were torn in other places and worn.

In addition, there was a stamp by the Barbados Post Office which stated that the envelopes were taped when they were received in Barbados.

What on earth is going on?! Who is opening people’s personal mail in Guyana? What are they looking for? This is a violation of privacy!

If it is indeed the fact that all of the mail which came from Guyana had been cut open and then taped, then this points to either official snooping or large scale mail fraud. This is upsetting. Those who are thieving and smuggling and corrupt are not being targeted, but they are violating the mail of ordinary people. If it is the latter then GPO has a serious problem.

This letter also appeared in the Stabroek News

The Guyana Post Office Corporation has replied and says they are looking into the matter.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Guyana

When Barbadians emigrated to Guyana…

Some Bajans choose to forget our shared roots and history…

The period between 1863 and 1886 was the most intense period of Barbadian emigration to Guyana, but even as late as the 1920s and 1930s there were still Barbadians leaving for Guyana.  The majority of Barbadians who migrated to Guyana were cane-cutters.  The then British Guiana was a safety valve for a densely populated island such as Barbados that had limited job prospects for the mass of working class people, and little available and affordable land for the development of an independent peasantry.  The genealogies of Guyanese and Barbadians are so intertwined that it is not uncommon to learn of Guyanese who have grandparents from Barbados, and vice versa.  There are deep families ties in which, in one family, half of the children could be born in Guyana and the other half in Barbados.  My own extended family embodied this split national profile.  The familial ties are enduring, but the vicissitudes of development have been more favorable to Barbados, while the fortunes of Guyana have rendered the country less attractive by comparison in the contemporary period…

From the excellent Sunday Stabroek story Mudheads in Barbados: A Lived Experience

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Filed under Barbados, History, Immigration

Cocaine shipped in timber, produce from Guyana to… Barbados?

Guyana: Drugs in agricultural exports “destroying the national interest and livelihood”

Narcotics concealed in agricultural and wood products shipments from Guyana are so prevalent that the country’s Agriculture Minister recently called the problem a “living nightmare.”

Barbados imports hundreds of tonnes of Guyanese products each year, and the recent series of articles in the Guyanese news media has us thinking about what else is arriving on our shores in addition to plantains and lumber. The above photo is of cocaine discovered in Jamaica that was concealed in a shipment of lumber from Guyana. In that case authorities believe that Customs or shipping officials were working with the drug gangs.

It’s not impossible to smuggle large quantities of drugs without the cooperation of crooked officials, but something tells me that as in the Jamaican cocaine shipment, no criminal organisation smuggles half a million dollars worth of narcotics by leaving things to chance.

You want to stop large drug shipments into Barbados?

Look at the homes, vehicles and other assets of Customs and other officials and see if they are reasonable for the level of salary and length of employment.

If a certain Port of Barbados official drives a BMW, is that reasonable?

Hey… we’re just asking!

Further Reading

Demerara Waves: Drugs in agri-exports a “living nightmare” – Minister Persaud

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Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Guyana

Will Hartley Henry create a revolution in Guyanese politics?

Barbados PM’s advisor Hartley Henry caught in “clandestine meeting” with Guyanese Opposition parties.

We find it fascinating to follow the activities of the chief political advisor to the Prime Minister of Barbados. According to an article in the Guyana Chronicle online, Hartley Henry met with members of two opposition parties in Guyana – obviously discussing how to unite the opposition for the next election. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Guyana, Politics

Barbados Business Could Face Immigration Backlash Throughout Caribbean

Dear Barbados Free Press:

I will just state for the record that my job involves extensive travel throughout the Eastern Caribbean and I have been in the same job for over 11 years. Let me also state that I am for managed migration, however, I must admit that I have a soft spot for my Caribbean brothers and sisters having made genuine friends in all the EC countries that I visited, so much so I have the choice to stay at a friend’s home as opposed to a hotel when I visit my neighbours. Similarly I entertain at least 8 of my EC mates or their family every year for a week at a time.

Prime Minister Thompson’s announcement of am amnesty for all Undocumented CARICOM Nationals (I do not subscribe to the view that a human should ever be referred to as ILLEGAL) has not gone down well in any of the Caribbean countries I have visited since May 15th. Bajans have come in for a tongue lashing from all walks of the EC’s society – e.g. the taxi driver, the home helper, the call in programs, the politicians, the business people and others. I have found myself on the receiving end more often than not and I am beginning to sense that a dislike for Bajans like me and you is rapidly brewing and it genuinely concerns me.

In a nutshell I am hearing from OUTSIDE OF BARBADOS that the backlash is rooted in the following –

1. The amnesty sets unrealistic requirements. A radio call in host in St. Lucia noted that PM Thomson’s conditions (I suspect with time spent in Barbados) would disqualify more than 90% of Undocumented Immigrants here in Barbados. Therefore it is being suggested that PM Thompson’s amnesty was never intended to facilitate the Undocumented Immigrant to regularize his/ her stay in Barbados, rather it is believed by the wider Caribbean that it is more so intended to justify the mass deportation of Undocumented CARICOM Nationals come January 1, 2010.

2.    Barbados and Bajans encouraged many of these same very Undocumented Immigrants to come to Barbados to work over the last 16 years. As a result some of Guyana’s and St, Vincent’s most talented artisans left their home for greener pastures in our then booming construction sector; additionally others were readily employed by our middle and upper classes as maids and gardeners. How often you were at a cocktail party in the late 90s and the work ethic or roti making skills of the Guyanese maid was being praised? Others came to our shores as plantation workers while others were recruited as sex workers. However, now that the party is over these Undocumented guest of ours are expected to drop everything – including chattel and family and jump on the next plane home.

3.    The politicians, especially the PMs of St. Vincent and Guyana, are stirring up the flames of anti-Bajan sentiment in their respective countries. I have little doubt that such a move is meant to distract from their impoverished economies, respectively.

4.    A middle class Grenadian business man reminded me in no uncertain terms that Barbados depends on her CARICOM neighbours for almost 60% of our exports. And how we are ungrateful “sycophants”. And if we don’t watch it our exports were going to suffer. He and others were of the opinion that we should go easy on our CARICOM brothers/ sisters because our manufacturing sector could not survive without CARICOM.

5.    A St. Lucian taxi driver reminded me that CO Williams Construction, SAGICOR and Almond Resorts St. Lucia were Barbadian companies who were making lots of money in St. Lucia while there were no St. Lucian companies of note that were allowed to exist in Barbados. Again he thought that PM Thompson was undermining and taking for granted the good bilateral relationship that existed between St. Lucia and Barbados for years by announcing “such a callous immigration policy”.

6.    The Caribbean media have reported the Gestapo like raids on undocumented immigrants quoting individuals who stated that they were awoken in the middle of the night by Sergeant PC Brooms and a very caustic immigration officer not caring what was to happen to their belongings once they were escorted off the premises.

7.    Many are accusing us as being short sighted pointing out that in the early half of the 20th century Bajans travelled without restrictions throughout the Caribbean in search of gainful employment.

PLEASE DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER / OBSERVER.

If we don’t bring a more realistic and human face to dealing with our Undocumented CARICOM neighbours Barbados could face a serious irreversible and potentially economically crippling backlash.

I would be first to admit that I have a vested interest in Barbados being perceived as being a kinder and gentler nation. My livelihood in intricately connected to doing business with our Eastern Caribbean neighbours, however, I must point out that if I fail to meet my targets over 30 Bajans could be on the bread line adding to the drain on our social security services. While my failure will in turn affect over 100 persons (including immediate family members), however, with my limited knowledge I can see our recently announced immigration policy resulting in:

1.    Possibly 1000s of Bajan manufacturing jobs being threatened
2.    A reduced number of CARICOM nationals choosing Barbados as their holiday/ shopping destination
3.    Reduced opportunity for our professionals – e.g. accountants, quantity surveyors, engineers, lawyers, pilots – getting jobs in the Eastern Caribbean
4.    Reduced business opportunities for our companies and businesses in the Eastern Caribbean. Right now the Williams group of companies have recently completed a water desalination plant in St. Kitts.
5.    Reduced number of CARICOM nationals travelling to Barbados for Crop Over/ Jazz Festival/ Cricket/ etc.
6.    Reduced number of EC Governments paying for their nationals to come to Barbados for medical test and care
7.    Reduced number of EC countries coming to our rescue in the face of a national disaster/ crisis – e.g. hurricane, tsunami, social disturbance (Prison riots)
8.    Our fishermen may be increasingly harassed if they ventured into the territorial waters of our increasingly unfriendly CARICOM neighbours.
9.    We may no longer be a hub for air transport into the EC.
10.    Our nominees for UN/ OAS/ FAO/ PAHO/ CCJ and other appointments may no longer be guaranteed the support of the EC
11.    UWI Cave Hill may see less and less EC nationals entering its doors.
12.    Our regional companies – Goddards and Cave Shepherds – may find it increasingly difficult to do business in the EC

I was once told for every action one should always be prepared for an equal and opposite reaction. I do think that most Bajans supporting PM Thompson’s immigration policy are unaware of the possible consequences of the reactions by our EC neighbours who rightly or wrongly feel hurt that a CARICOM brother/ sister in Barbados would devise a policy that on the surface, at least, seems inhumane and unjust.

A Very Concerned Bajan

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Guyana, Human Rights, Police, Politics, Race, Tourism, Travel, Traveling and Tourism

Guyana Deportees Report Thefts Of Money, Property In Wake Of Barbados Immigration & Police Raids

“When I got to my room,  the door was off, all my clothes thrown on the floor, my suitcase ravaged and all my documents and money gone. I could not believe it. I had recently bought  a Dreambox, a dvd player,  and I had $1 300 Bajan saved and it’s all gone.”

… An illegal immigrant tells of thefts during Immigration Raids in The Nation article Lucky Escape

Free-For-All As Landlords And Others Profit From Deportations

barbados-steal-moneyTwo days ago Barbados Free Press asked what our Barbados Immigration and Police were doing to secure and protect the valuables and personal property of persons arrested in the recent immigration raids. (See BFP’s Barbados Continues Immigration Raids, Deportations Of Guyanese…)

Now we know: Barbados Government officials are in fact doing nothing to protect or secure deportees’ valuables. It is a free-for-all with neighbours, landlords and passersby grabbing the “abandoned” property and money of arrested persons. Our authorities are doing nothing except dragging persons away from their rooms and homes.

What a National Shame for Barbados

So far there are no reports of government officials ending up with deportees’ property, but where there is no system used to properly seize, protect and catalogue the property of arrested persons – it is only a matter of time until the abuses start if they haven’t already.

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Barbados Continues Immigration Raids, Deportations Of Guyanese – Media Report Of $100 Per Head Reward For Deported Guyanese

“Now I have lost everything, a whole house full of appliances, clothes and so much more. I miss work because I could afford to do so much, now to come back home and just leave that, it’s hard…”

… Guyanese deported from Barbados speaks to Stabroek News: Deportee from Barbados has lost hope in her homeland

Barbados Immigration Paying $100 A Head Reward For Information?

Barbados Immigration authorities are offering BDS$100 per head reward for information leading to the deportation of illegal Guyanese on the island – this according to Stabroek News of Guyana. News reports also say that the Guyanese government is documenting the treatment of deportees by Bajan authorities through interviews, media reports and follow-up visits by the Guyanese Consul in Barbados.

Who Ends Up With The Deportee’s Larger Possessions?

Where are the deportees' autos?

Where are the deportees' autos?

One of the articles we read tells the story of an illegal Guyanese woman whose home was raided in the middle of the night by Barbados authorities. She, her family and friends were packed off in custody with no time to secure her larger possessions which included major appliances such as a fridge and cooker.

Who ends up with the deportee’s major possessions? What happened to the tens thousands of dollars of autos, clothes, appliances and tools that were owned by the Guyanese who have already been deported from Barbados?

Deportees’ possessions – Spoils of the hunt for Barbados Immigration Officials?

Who ends up with deportees' large possessions?

Who ends up with deportees' large possessions?

What have Barbados authorities been doing to protect the deportees’ possessions? Have any Immigration authorities been seen with new stoves lately?

The question is not as flippant as it might seem because if it turns out that Bajan Immigration authorities have ignored the issue of deportee’s property (or worse), it will reflect very badly upon our country.

Yes, we at Barbados Free Press believe that Barbados has the right and the duty to control immigration and to take steps to remove persons who are in the country illegally – HOWEVER – we must not forget that, illegal or not, these folks are just ordinary people who deserve to be treated with dignity, respect and even kindness by Bajan authorities. Anything less will make Barbados a brutal nation in the eyes of the world.

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Ethics, Guyana, Human Rights, Immigration, Politics