June 26, 2015
International law experts working with NDP on Garifuna issue

The New Democratic Party has employed the services of lawyers versed in International Law in order to push the process for honorary citizenship for Garifuna people forward.

As he spoke last Monday on the New Times programme on Nice Radio, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace said the terms and conditions of honorary citizenship for Garifuna persons in the Diaspora will be negotiated with the support of lawyers.{{more}}

Eustace stated that he has been subject to a lot of “tongue lashing”, particularly from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves since he made the declaration on May 31 that all Garifuna persons in the Diaspora will be given honorary citizenship under a New Democratic Party (NDP) administration.

“You think we just go into an exercise like that with our eyes closed?” the opposition leader asked.

“We are aware of what are the issues that are involved but we are committed to saying to the Garifuna that we recognize you as part of us and we welcome you and we will negotiate terms and conditions of honorary citizenship with you, including having the technical support of lawyers in International Law.”

He disclosed that he had recently held a meeting by Skype with a professor of International Law who is also familiar with the United Nations position on Indigenous Peoples.

The opposition leader also criticized the Prime Minister’s comments in relation to Eustace’s declaration, describing them as a “cheap political trick in an effort to fool the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines”.

“Prime minister, let me tell you now; I regard what you say as nonsense,” Eustace said.

“This is a cheap piece of politics. He has been dealing with the Garifuna for the past 14 years. He has made no proposals to ensure that we improve their positions vis-à-vis St Vincent and the Grenadines… we have taken a step today to push the process forward but you are condemning it while doing nothing about it.”

The opposition leader declared that the NDP will continue the process so that the Garifuna people will recognize that they are serious about them becoming the nation’s brothers and sisters.(BK)