By Kurt Campbell
[www.inewsguyana.com] – Guyanese can expect an easier time when travelling to Barbados against the current perceived unfair treatment that is meted out to Guyanese.
The two countries through its Foreign Ministers on Friday October 4 signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that deals with the relationship between the two countries in the area of movement of people between Guyana and Barbados.
Representatives from the two countries are expected to meet within the next three months to work on the implementation of this agreement.
Barbados Minister of Foreign Affairs & Trade Senator Maxine McClean told a news conference at the International Conference Center that since she became the Minister responsible for Immigration and Security there have been improvements in this area.
“There has been and will continue to be an easy flow of people between the two countries” she said, adding that “we have gone through a period where the media seems to play up issues which arose from time to time.”
Senator McClean presented figures which show that in 2008 there were 31,276 Guyanese travelling to Barbados with 610 refusals and more recently in 2012, a total of 21,358 Guyanese travelled to Barbados resulting in 163 being refused entry.
According the Barbados Foreign Minister, among the reasons persons were refused entry include false passports, previous deportation or simply overstayed visits.
The statistics show a decrease of almost 10,000 Guyanese travelling to Barbados between 2008 and 2012. In justifying the decrease, Senator McClean explained that in 2008 the construction boom that existed in Barbados had attracted several Guyanese consistent with the opportunities for employment it provided.
She added however that the recent development in Guyana and the opening up of job opportunities is a significant contributor to this decrease.
Meanwhile Guyana’s Foreign Affairs Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett pointed out that the number of persons arriving in Barbados represents also in-transiting passengers.
The Caribbean Community (Caricom) under the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME) already established regulations for persons travelling between Caricom countries; however Rodrigues-Birkett explained that this MOU between Guyana and Barbados cover all persons as opposed to skilled persons only.
She said over the last two years her Ministry has not received any complaints of perceived mistreatment as was done in the past.
“There have been marked improvements… I continue to encourage Guyanese to always abide by the law” she added.
She said the committee that was established in the past to deal with the treatment of Guyanese entering Barbados no longer functions, as there is no need for such a body.