People’s Action Movement Leader – Mr Lindsay Grant
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
January 17th, 2010
People’s Action Movement leader, Lindsay Grant has announced an amnesty which he said will commence on January 26th for illegal persons from CARICOM and CARIFORUM countries living in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Grant said that the amnesty will last for 90 days as the party seeks to regularize the current immigration issues regarding non nationals, especially hundreds of our brothers and sisters from sister Caribbean states like Haiti, Guyana, Jamaica and the Dominican Republic.
Grant speaking to a massive crowd on Friday evening, (January 15th), announced that under his administration the foreign policy will no longer be divorced from the national development policy, in an effort to prioritize a stronger relationship with CARICOM and the wider CARIFORUM. This said the PAM leader would allow his small country to avail itself to all the assistance and expertise available, including human capital.
He stressed that his administration will ensue that the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Convention of the Treatment of Migrant Workers, will be given urgent attention and he will make the signing of that convention, a major priority.
Grant declared that migrant workers must not only be treated fairly, but they must be paid decent wages. “The issue of migration is one about which the debate has been vigorous and often full of emotions, both here in St Kitts and Nevis and in the wider region. At this very moment, it is the varying views on migration and the knee jerk reactions to the issue that have led to the paralysis of the integration process. But integration is about the people,” Grant said.
He noted that the people of the Caribbean region have been integrating for many years, in search of new opportunities and a better life for their families, driven in part by the harsh economic realities and circumstances of underdevelopment. In these difficult times the people who come here from Haiti, Jamaica, Dominican Republic and Guyana, amongst other nations, are simply looking for a new start and his party, the Peoples Action Movement, is of the firm conviction that the time has come to show action by helping those illegal residents to become full legal citizens of St. Kitts & Nevis.
Grant said that the time has come for a change, and that change must benefit everyone, including those who are propelled to risk everything in search of some prosperity for their children.
Grant added that, persons leaving their countries in search of betterment leave their kith and kin behind, sometimes never to see them again, because they are residing in the country illegally and would be unable to return should they leave.
He reiterated his party’s position that this kind of lifestyle has had a continued impact on families across the region as children have had to grow up without mothers and fathers.
“This is why we pledge tonight that within the first 90 days of office we will announce an amnesty for all undocumented or illegal persons from the CARICOM and CARIFORUM region and this includes the Dominican Republic,” said the PAM leader.
Mr. Grant also pointed out that, “We will also be reviewing the length of time required to obtain citizenship and residency in this country with a view to shortening the length of time.”