EDITORIAL: Strengthening of Barbados/Guyana ‘friendship’ bond
It is of significance and relevance to note that even before last Friday’s historic decision by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the case involving Barbados and the Jamaican Shanique Myrie was publicly made known, the foreign affairs ministers of this country and Guyana had already initiated a plan of action to improve freedom of movement relations between the two CARICOM partner states.
Indeed, in sharp contrast to the unpleasant relations that had lasted for too long between these two over freedom of movement problems, Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean and her Guyanese counterpart, Carolyn Rodriques-Birkett, have now charted a course of action to ensure arrangements that avoid aggravating immigration problems.
Therefore, the landmark judgment by the CCJ in the Myrie case could well serve as a relevant impetus for the initiative already taken at ministerial level in Georgetown last Friday at the 2nd Guyana-Barbados Joint Commission Meeting.
Also involved in the process were Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM Robert “Bobby” Morris and Guyana’s ambassador to Community partner states, Elizabeth Harper.
It so happens that in keeping with the policy directives and personal relations forged and being sustained by their respective foreign affairs ministers, ambassadors Harper and Morris have also been revealing encouraging public profiles in sustained efforts to strengthen relations with countries to which they are accredited.
Senator McClean has already been pointing, undoubtedly with some personal satisfaction, to the continuing decline in number of Guyanese being refused entry into Barbados. Now, with the CCJ’s ruling, she would, along with her relevant Barbadian ministerial colleagues, be even more vigilant in ensuring compliance with freedom of movement regulations.
It is to be hoped that as efforts continue to examine and report on the implications of the CCJ’s ruling, Minister McClean would consider the importance of also sharing with the public the relevant provisions of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) agreed to last week for improved Barbados and Guyana relations. She has already hinted that the MOU goes beyond the sensitive immigration issue pertaining to freedom of movement of their nationals, and that it extends to cooperation in agricultural development and trading relations.
Perhaps CARICOM counterparts of ministers McClean and Rodrigues-Birkett would now seek to make known their own initiatives in fostering improved relations with Community partner countries to which they are also credited. The cumulative effect of such initiatives could result in rewarding developments for the people of CARICOM as a whole.