Dennis Jones is a Jamaican-born international economist, who has lived most of the time in the UK and USA, and latterly in Guinea, west Africa. He moved back to the Caribbean in 2007. This blog contains his observations on life on this small eastern Caribbean island, as well as views on life and issues on a broader landscape, especially the Caribbean and Africa.







**You may contact me by e-mail at livinginbarbados[at]gmail[dot]com**

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Immigration Policy Still A Patchwork Quilt

I have not made a secret of the fact that the way that the current DLP government in Barbados has 'managed' its immigration policy has not impressed me. One of my concerns was the apparent unevenness of its application. Well, I do not know if things are getting more even handed but I was interested to see today's report that one major entity has come under scrutiny for hiring illegal immigrants (see Nation report). The Crane resort is reported to now being more vigilant: they will conduct daily checks on all sub-contracted workers to ensure that they are legally documented to work in this country. The new policy came into immediate effect yesterday after 20 workers were reportedly rounded up, interviewed and removed from the hotel by the Immigration Department last Friday. The Crane cries 'innocence' in not having control over the actions of subcontractors.

Employers in Barbados, both large and small, as well as private individuals should be under the radar as much as illegal immigrants themselves.

It is interesting to see the sword that falls on the head of a politician in the US or UK if they are found to be the employer of an illegal immigrant. The most recent casualty of this is Baroness Scotland, who was fined £5,000 for employing an illegal immigrant. But she was spared too much ignominy: PM Gordon Brown has said he had decided to take no further action because Scotland had employed Loloahi Tapui, a housekeeper from Tonga, "in good faith" and had apologised "unreservedly". Opposition Tories demanded Scotland's immediate resignation, pointing out that she was being punished for breaking a law that she had helped steer through parliament. Baroness (Patricia) Scotland, who has Dominican-Antiguan roots, was the first black woman to be made a Queen's Council (in 1991), and is a top barrister. Ignorance of the law is no defence...

Now, we know how people operate. Are we to believe that no politician in our region or even in Barbados has not been similarly 'careless'? I hear a whistle coming on.


Sargeant said...

Speaking of immigration, how come you didn’t mention the Gov’ts stealth approach in implementing its fingerprint policy. This Gov’t is taking on some of the communication characteristics of the former Gov’t in only its second year in office. The minister said it wasn’t mandatory for visitors so be finger printed we will soon find out what mandatory means.

As for the Gov’t clamp down on the illegal immigrants working at the Crane, there are many lesser “Cranes” who are employing illegal immigrants. I’ve heard the story from both sides; a friend of mine who has employed illegal immigrants in his construction business told me that he employed them because he couldn’t depend on Bajans to come to work everyday. A Bajan construction worker told me that many employers prefer to hire illegal Guyanese etc. because they can pay them lower wages than the Bajan worker was prepared to accept. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

The former PM also admitted to hiring illegal immigrants but I can’t remember hearing any cries for him to resign by the then opposition DLP. Perhaps this is so widespread that the DLP couldn’t reasonably call on him to step down when they may have been guilty of the same actions.

Living in Barbados said...


I'm travelling and will see how this new finger printing scheme is working as I return: lower relative wages and looser conditions of service are very important.

On the illegal/undocumented immigrants, the rationale for employing them has always been clear, but clearly the oversight has been poor.

I have not repeated the claim about the former PM, because what I read indicated that he had acknowledged employing Guyanese workers, not Bajans, on a housing project, not that they were illegal. If you can cite the source I would be glad to see it.

Sargeant said...

I can’t seem to locate my source so remove that allegation until I can prove otherwise

Dennis Jones said...


I think your disclaimer can suffice for the moment. You are not the first to make the allegation and I would argue that its repetition does not add to the 'harm' if it is indeed not correct.

Heaven said...

The finger printing policy is for those illegal immigrants who after being deported, return under a new passport and new name. If your fingerprints are on file you cannot hide. The US does it and every one complies because they want to travel there.

Dennis Jones said...


What I read in the Nation suggests that it applies to at least all arrivals, and that it is 'standard procedure', see http://www.nationnews.com/news/local/comments-on-Fingerprinting-copy-for-web. I will report what I experience later today.

Dennis Jones said...

Well, nothing much was happening at Grantley Adams this evening when the Caribbean Airways flight from Jamaica/Antigua landed. No finger printing. No H1N1 notification. But, Customs checks (often absent when those loaded planes from USS, Canada, and UK arrive; what are we to take from that?). Very nice attitude from every one though and perhaps it was after glow from US Air resuming and JetBlue commencing daily services to Barbados.