BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday December 31, 2018 – The removal of the visa requirement for Haitians coming to Barbados has resulted in a major scam in which Haitians are being duped out of thousands of dollars with the hope of finding a job here.
However, Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong has given the assurance that officials are on top of the situation, after it was found that scores of Haitians have come to Barbados since the floodgates opened.
“What we are finding is that there seem to be some unscrupulous persons in Haiti and perhaps in the Dominican Republic as well, who are misleading Haitians, and taking money from them. My understanding is that many Haitians are being asked to pay these persons somewhere between US$2,500 and $3,000, giving these Haitians the assurance that if they pay them this money, that they would arrange accommodation and employment in Barbados,” he told online newspaper Barbados Today during an exclusive interview.
“A number of the Haitians who are coming here are poor people who have been misled, who have paid out this money and are coming to Barbados, believing that there is some job waiting for them in Barbados. This is not true.”
Last week, a group of Haitians who were evicted from a four-bedroom house called on local authorities to help them find temporary accommodation and to fund return tickets to their homeland. The young men said they had travelled to Barbados in search of a better life. However, they said they found no jobs and have exhausted their limited finances.
Ambassador Comissiong shared a document with Barbados Today, which was sent to the Haitian government informing the people of that nation that they are not entitled to work in Barbados, and also outlining the terms on which they may visit the island.
The press advisory, dated August 15, written in French, Creole and English, explained that it is important that there be a general understanding, not only in Haiti but all across the Caribbean, that while no CARICOM national needs a visa to travel to Barbados, that it is necessary when visiting Barbados that the traveller be in possession of sufficient financial resources to adequately maintain himself or herself without becoming a charge on public funds.
This is a legal stipulation of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and an integral component of Caribbean Community Law, the document also read.
“A CARICOM national that comes to Barbados as a visitor is not entitled to work, and that needs to be made clear. If a CARICOM national comes under the Skilled Nationals Programme, which has 10 skills that are currently approved and they possess a CARICOM skills certificate to confirm that they possess these skills, then they can be granted permission to work without needing a work permit.
“However, this only applies to a small fraction of Haitian visitors who are coming, because as of now, Haiti really does not have the structures in place to permit its people to fully participate in the CARICOM Skills National Programme,” Comissiong explained. (Barbados Today)