DNA wants review of open-door policy for CARICOM nationals


The country’s open-door policy to CARICOM nationals needs to be reviewed taking into account the recent upsurge in violent crimes, according to head of the Democratic National Alliance (DNA).

Member of Parliament for All Saints East and St Luke Joanne Massiah was addressing the increasing crime situation in Antigua and Barbuda, and more so the most recent killing occurring on Wednesday morning in Cedar Grove, which she deemed “horrific”.

Massiah said that these heinous acts are most often perpetrated by individuals who are not Antiguan and Barbudans citizens “because we don’t live like that, this is not our culture”.

She said criminal elements are destroying the peaceful fabric of society and the time has to come to bring heads together to seriously address the matter.

“Criminal activity is escalating in Antigua, and the execution-style killings which we have been (reporting) is a cause for concern . . . and we believe what we are seeing now, and have been seeing for a while, is what we describe as an infiltration and a penetration of a foreign criminal culture, which seems to be taking root in Antigua and Barbuda, which is destroying the society and which is creating an atmosphere of fear and terror among the citizens and residents of this country. We have to begin to take crime more seriously because what we are seeing involves criminal activity never before seen in this country,” Massiah said on Observer radio.

According to Massiah, there has been some misunderstanding of the Immigration Act with regards to the entry of CARICOM nationals into the country.

The DNA head said immigration officers have a discretion as to whether to land a person in the country.

“We believe that it is time to take a serious second look at our open border immigration policy, which emanates from a decision of the heads of CARICOM. Perhaps if we begin to follow the law, we have taken a look at the Immigration Act and the regulations and we believe immigration officers are clothed with certain authority and discretions in respect of when to land people here, but this seems to be a misinterpretation of the law that says as long as you come into Antigua and Barbuda from a Caricom territory, and you are a citizen of the Caricom territory, you are automatically landed, and these are things that we must begin to look at more seriously,” the MP said.

The habit of sponsorship of persons coming into Antigua and Barbuda by nationals, as has been the practice for many years, is not in the legislation and regulations, Massiah said.

She questioned the type of vetting that is done on these individuals to confirm if they can financially sustain the person while here or whether they can actually house these people.

Massiah said we are now experiencing a mass migration of people from within the CARICOM region who do not have the finances to take care of themselves while here.

“It’s a mess, and we need to begin to address these problems urgently because inherent in that mass migration, we all know about it, is human trafficking, which particularly affects women and young girls, children I should say, and we have not yet been able to bring that under control,” Massiah added.

Massiah noted that her party plans on establishing a strategic crime fighting unit with advanced forensic capabilities, while ensuring that more police officers receive training in forensics and proper investigation techniques suited for a modern society.

The MP cited that the lawmen are doing their best to fight crime, but added that they are “handicapped to a large extent in terms of their readiness to take on this new type of crime that we are seeing.”

Massiah concluded that the government should focus their attention on providing proper resources to the crime fighting agencies in the country since crime is more than purchasing new vehicles.

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  1. Well I’m glad to see someone “hit the nail on the head” But I would go one step further to say that there are Antiguans facilitating the criminal activity because it’s hard for me to believe that we are so docile that we allow ourselves to be over run by foreign criminals?? All these follow fashion local dogs who settle for anything because they Stand for nothing!!! What is Antiguan ideology anyway?? How do we live?? And obviously we are standing for this crap… But I’m “kid” you not! There are Antiguan citizens paying attention to everything going on in Paradise, and when these parasites strike, and hurt the wrong people or family… The parasites will be exterminated as they should be… No Mercy! Just like they kill without Mercy… So the police better do something about it before the concerned Citizens begin to act on there own… Tourism is everyone’s Business and this is personally affecting my Business!!

  2. In Jamaica from January 2017 to July 2017 …927 murders were committed and HAVE been recorded ..these murders were committed by person between the ages of 16 to 32yrs…it started off with kidnappings which lead to murders …..assinations …..some were even gutted…and thats viewed as normal ….

    ANTIGUANS are not this evil but we have let the murders fleeing from this Caribbean islands into our country …they come as visitors and integrated in our society …
    I totally agree endorse that our immigration policy is in desperately NEEDS reviewing….
    As previously stated our police officers n immigration agents need proper vetting techniques and proper communication with heads of police departments in Caribbean n stop this open door policy 4 ALL islands.

    Enuff has to be Enuff….

  3. Now….look at the present situation …..with Antigua granting Barbudans n Dominicans refuge (rightfully so)..who else coming in who are really letting in under the” guise” of a refugee….

    Since when Antiguas killing in broad daylight …have
    Antiguans adopted these evil behaviors …
    Have antiguans bcome cold evil n barbaric….

    I say closed the door n let other islands who wish to come Antigua send their passport accompanied by a police report 1st to be granted entry…


  4. So you are beginning to realize you have to know who you a letting in to your country.
    in the states the liberals want open borders, that has led to more crime.
    That being said antigua depends on tourism that does not mix well with crime.

  5. It’s a bit late now. The open door policy had gone through the window there’s no return now. Politians want these people to come in to vote for them to stay in power. That’s the problem.

  6. Thank you DNA for coming out ahead of Lovell the leader of the blue birds on this one. We need to repeal that old British law where commonwealth citizens can vote in our elections and put CSME membership to referendum.
    You have the full support of Antiguans and Barbudans on this.

  7. The MP cannot hide the UPP Trump type demagoguery politics. Last time i checked Damian Marshall is Antiguan. The person believed to have shot at him is Antiguan. The persons (males) that his gang allegedly shot at are Antiguan. The person charged with shooting Xavier Thomas other than Marshall are Antiguans

  8. We sowed the wind for the cynical political advantage of getting the votes of those who have no commitment to our country. Now we reap the world wind of a foreign criminal cultural invasion that will destroy lives and our tourism based economy. Its called natural justice.

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