GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Friday July 31, 2015 – There is now, for the first time ever, a Vatican Ambassador to CARICOM. And already a suggestion has been made that the Vatican may be able to find a solution to the “looming crisis” of thousands of Dominicans of Haitian descent rendered stateless by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional court ruling on nationality.
The suggestion was made yesterday by CARICOM Secretary General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque after he accepted the credentials of Archbishop Nicola Girasoli, Plenipotentiary Representative of the Holy See.
Ambassador LaRocque expressed “deep appreciation” for the work of religious bodies in CARICOM’s development, particularly through education and for the social interventions that have largely been focused on the less privileged, adding that the accreditation of provided an avenue for the Vatican and the regional grouping to work together on common issues of concern.
He further noted that Pope Francis’ emphasis on the issues of peace, equality, inclusion and responsibility resonated with CARICOM which itself was striving “to build a secure, equitable and viable community for all its people”.
It is against this background that he referred to the situation in the Dominican Republic, in which thousands of Dominicans born to undocumented Haitian immigrants, were being deported.
“What will become of these persons, many of whom have no ties whatsoever, social cultural or linguistic, to Haiti, to which they could well be deported?” LaRocque questioned, suggesting that there might be a role for the Vatican in finding a just solution to the crisis, given its strong influence in both countries.
The Secretary General also used the opportunity yesterday to commend the head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, for his role in helping to bring an end to the estrangement between Cuba and the United States, noting that “the establishment of diplomatic relations has brought about a positive and welcome change in the dynamics of our hemisphere”.
He also said several actions and statements by the Pope, particularly with respect to climate change, were most welcome to CARICOM’S member states which are bearing the brunt of its effects, although hardly contributing to its causes.
For his part, Archbishop Girasoli said the establishment of diplomatic relations opened a “new chapter” in the relations between the Vatican and CARICOM and reiterated the Holy See’s commitment to collaborate closely with the region to contribute to its well-being.