ST JOHN’S, Antigua – National Security Ministry Dr Errol Cort said he has begun reaching out to the three Caricom countries with the most nationals residing in Antigua & Barbuda with the aim of addressing a number of immigration issues.
The minister said though formal talks have not yet been held, issues related to jobs, residency and repatriation processes would top the agenda.
“It is necessary in my view that we have bilateral discussions between Antigua & Barbuda and a number of the other Caricom countries where we have a high percentage of their nationals here and I am thinking specifically about Guyana, Jamaica and to some extent Dominica,” the minister said.
He said such discussions would ensure all parties are “on the same page” regarding immigration and labour policies, particularly because each of the named countries is part of Caricom.
“I am looking forward in the not too distant future, to formalising relationships to discuss immigration matters between those three countries in particular, because we are part of Caricom and we have our Caricom obligations and we have obligations internationally to treat individuals in a particular way,” the minister said.
With reference to the treatment of immigrants, the minister said the establishment of an immigrant detention and removal centre, which was opened yesterday, would ensure that immigrants found in breach of immigration and labour laws would be treated in a more humane manner since they would no longer have to share cells with criminals and suspects in custody at police stations.