An Open Letter to the People of Jamaica on the Disgraceful Award of a National Honour to the President of the Dominican Republic

Submitted by DAVID  COMISSIONG, Citizen of the Caribbean and President of the Clement Payne Movement (Barbados)

DAVID COMISSIONG,

My dear Jamaican Brothers and Sisters,

I was recently appalled to learn that the Government of Jamaica– led by Prime Minister Andrew Holness– has conferred Jamaica’s Order of Excellence  on President Danilo Medina of the Dominican Republic.

Any Jamaican government that is so lacking in racial pride and respect for humanity and civilized values that it would confer a national honour on President Medina of the Dominican Republic– a political leader who is currently presiding over a racist genocidal mass deportation of hundreds of thousands of Black Dominicans of Haitian ancestry– has done Jamaica and Jamaicans a grave disservice !

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his administration are guilty of  an act of infamy, and have seriously undermined the historic and sacred mission of the Jamaican and Caribbean people to be champions of Black dignity and human rights.

Surely Mr Holness knows that the Government of the Dominican Republic has effectively stripped some 300,000 black Dominicans of Haitian ancestry of their citizenship rights and has presided over the deportation of some 200,000 of such persons to Haiti over the past two years.

Surely he is aware that many of these people know nothing about Haiti; have no family connections there; don’t speak French or Haitian creole; and have ended up in Cholera-stricken refugee camps in Haiti.

Surely he is aware that the widespread anti-Black, racist sentiment that the policies of the Dominican Republic Government have given rise to has led to several Black Dominicans being lynched in the Dominican Republic and to a wave of unlawful racist violence against Black Dominicans?

Any yet he still goes ahead and disgraces the land of the Right Excellent Marcus Garvey, Paul Bogle, Sam Sharpe, Nanny, George William Gordon, Bob Marley , Peter Tosh , Rex Nettleford, and Norman Girvan in this manner?

 

I humbly and sincerely believe that it is now incumbent on the people of Jamaica to reassert the honour of their nation by protesting this outrage and letting the world know of their disapproval and disavowal.


 

DAVID  COMISSIONG

Citizen of the Caribbean and President of the Clement Payne Movement (Barbados)

 

P.S.


An outline of the predicament facing Black People in the Dominican Republic is as follows:-


Over the past two years, the Government of the Dominican Republic has orchestrated and /or presided over the mass deportation to neighbouring Haiti of close to 200,000 dark-skinned residents of the Dominican Republic.

These persons (men, women and children) were selected for deportation on the ground that – even though they might have been born in the Dominican Republic – they are the children of so-called undocumented Haitian migrants and are therefore not eligible for Dominican citizenship.

This recent chapter in the troubled relationship between the white and mulatto establishment of the Dominican Republic and its black native sons and daughters of Haitian ancestry began on the 25th of September 2013– the date on which the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic decreed that some 300,000 dark-skinned persons born in the Dominican Republic of Haitian parentage were to be stripped of their Dominican citizenship and the rights that go with it.

According to the Constitutional Court, such people were to be considered “persons in transit” even if they were born in the Dominican Republic and had lived there all their lives.


The Court also ordered the Dominican Government to review the birth and citizenship records of all persons going back to the year 1929; to cancel the citizenship of all those whose parents had been undocumented immigrants from Haiti; and to deport them.

This ruling of the Constitutional Court received widespread condemnation from a variety of governments, hemispheric organizations such as the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of American States (OAS); international courts like the Inter-American Human Rights Commission and the Inter American Court of Human Rights, and by international human rights advocacy bodies such as Amnesty International.

Indeed, so trenchant was the criticism and denunciation that the government of the current president of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, felt compelled to pass a new law which purported to soften the barbarity of the Constitutional Court’s ruling by stipulating that if the targeted persons voluntarily presented themselves to the relevant governmental authorities and applied for (and were granted) registration as “foreigners” within the Dominican Republic that they would not be deported.

Needless to say, this “new law” was also roundly condemned by international human rights bodies for continuing the policy of stripping native-born dark-skinned Dominicans of their citizenship status and rights.


Indeed, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (the Judicial organ of the OAS) actually ruled that both the decree of the Constitutional Court and elements of the “new law” were illegal and null and void.

Sadly, but predictably, the Constitutional Court of the Dominican Republic responded by arrogantly and lawlessly declaring that the Dominican Republic’s accession to the jurisdiction of the Inter American Court of Human Rights had been an unconstitutional act, and that the Inter American Court therefore had no jurisdiction in relation to the actions of the Government of the Dominican Republic.

The ultimate result of these legal machinations was that some 300,000 Black people of Haitian descent were effectively deemed non-citizens of the Dominican Republic and became, in effect, “stateless”persons. Many, if not most, of these people know little or nothing about Haiti – they were not born in Haiti;are not citizens of Haiti; do not speak French or Haitian Kreyol, and do not possess family networks in Haiti to whom they can connect.

And so it was against this background that in 2015 the Government of the Dominican Republic quietly commenced a mass deportation program.

 

Over the past two years, dark-skinned Dominicans of Haitian ancestry have been subjected to a reign of terror, as white and so-called mulatto Dominican Police and military personnel have targeted their homes and places of work, arresting suspected “persons in transit” and transported them to the border for immediate deportation to Haiti.

In addition to such “official” deportations, there has also emerged the phenomenon of “unofficial” deportations. This phenomenon consists of armed gangs of civilians – known as “tigerres” – who take it upon themselves to violently apprehend and “deport” dark-skinned persons suspected of being of Haitian ancestry.

This mass deportation program has been so heartless and barbaric that the International Organization for Migration has reported that thousands of unaccompanied minors have simply been deposited over the border with Haiti.

As indicated above, many of the deportees have no family support structures in Haiti, and this has resulted in the establishment of several extremely poorly-resourced refugee camps on Haitian territory to house such deportees.
Bear in mind that the Haitian authorities – still struggling with the devastating effect of the 2010 earthquake and of more recent hurricanes – is in no position to provide for these refugees. And the predictable outcome has been the outbreak of Cholera in several of these camps.


But as bad as the situation is now, it has the potential to get worse – much worse !


All of us in the Caribbean  would be well advised to take cognizance of the fact that this governmental crack-down on the Black people of the Dominican Republic is occurring in a country that has long exhibited deeply rooted traits of extreme anti- Black and anti-Haitian racism.

And it should be noted that the last time there was a governmental crack-down of this magnitude against people of Haitian ethnicity in the Dominican Republic – the 1937 crack-down by President Rafael Trujillo – close to 30,000 black people of Haitian ethnicity were massacred. It is this type of scenario that responsible and right-thinking members of our Caribbean community  must take urgent steps to forestall.

It goes without saying that this heartless and noxious policy of the Dominican government offends several of the most important principles of International Law.


Ever since the enunciation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, with its ringing pronouncement that “everyone has the right to a nationality” and that “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality”, and the establishment of the International Convention on the Status of Stateless Persons in 1954, International Law has taken a stance against any measures that throw people into a state of “statelessness”.
An important International Law measure to avoid “statelessness” is to provide nationality to children born on a country’s national territory, in circumstances in which such children would otherwise be stateless. This norm is stipulated in the 1961 United Nations Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. It also appears in several regional human rights treaties, including the American Convention on Human Rights, the European Convention on Nationality, and the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the child.

The ruling of the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court and the so-called “new law” of President Medina’s government therefore go against the grain of this entire trend of International Human Rights Law.

The ruling also offends the well-known legal principle that prohibits the retroactive application of legislation. The Constitutional Court’s ruling is actually based on a 2010 law which it has interpreted in such a manner that it is given a retroactive application going back as far as 1929. This is clearly morally, ethically and legally wrong.


The time has come for us to say enough is enough. The people of Haiti have suffered oppression and
discrimination for far too long. We have also had too many centuries and too many manifestations of anti-
Black racism. It must all stop now. Let us do what is necessary in this case to demonstrate an attitude of
zero-tolerance of all manifestations of anti-Black racism.

 

DAVID  COMISSIONG

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26 Comments on “An Open Letter to the People of Jamaica on the Disgraceful Award of a National Honour to the President of the Dominican Republic”

  1. David November 30, 2017 at 6:20 AM #

    You just have to love Comissiong, is there another person in Barbados who operates with the same level of consciousness to champion these kinds of issues? Now if t was about Trump!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pachamama November 30, 2017 at 8:30 AM #

    Comissiong

    You are quite right about the DR

    Indeed, any person of conscience who has lived in the DG or amongst Dominicans elsewhere are fully aware of how its history of Whitening, treachery, remains still central to the national ethic.

    They are not alone!

    Jamaicans themselves are less guilty. In Jamaica colourism still rules. Domestic helpers are still required to call the children therein ‘master’ or ‘miss’.

    The ‘great’ Bob Nesta Marley made famous his song ‘Buffalo Soldier’. Maybe in his ignorance or in a haste to praise the Afrikan-American role in militarism he ignored that hideous contribution to empire.

    Of course, the so-called soldiers were used to exterminate the buffalo as the staple to native culture on Turtle Island – the name the original people called North America.

    Even here on BU, some highly educated rassssssssssssoul idiots, like WALTER BLACKMAN, would be saying that this writer should not be spelling Afrikan with a ‘k’.

    Ignorance abounds all around us and neither the Jamaicans nor the Dominicans (DR) can be exempted.

    Like

  3. Sargeant November 30, 2017 at 8:46 AM #

    Gotta agree with Commissiong on this one, what were they thinking?

    Like

  4. Gabriel November 30, 2017 at 9:11 AM #

    David Commissiong and Pachamama are correct in their expressed views.DR is still downpressing blacks as Barbados did pre 1937.Blacks live in squalor,in hovels even the educated ones.DR is a hell on earth for blacks.It is a place of 2 classes only:-rich(albinos)and poor(others)

    Like

  5. Sargeant November 30, 2017 at 10:14 AM #

    CNN Reports- Faces of a divided Island

    A Dominican Republic court ruling in 2013 stripped citizenship from thousands of people (mainly descendants of Haitians) some of whose fore-parents had lived in the DR since 1929

    http://www.cnn.com/2016/04/12/world/dominican-republic-haiti-immigration/index.html

    Like

  6. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service November 30, 2017 at 11:46 AM #

    Black governments have a knack for demeaning and disgracing the humanity of their own people, we talk about the callousness of African leaders, but Caribbean leaders can be decidedly much worse..

    .. it’s no secret the level of racism and other acts perpetrated and state sanctioned by the Santo Dominican governments against blacks…but leave it to a Caribbean prime minister to spit on his own people by glorifying these criminals in DR….to what end, what will he gain..

    Funny enough…the people of DR are descended from Tiano Indians, African slaves and white spaniards….and they are the nastiest bunch of racists to date, in the Caribbean..

    Ya would think Caribbean leaders would put pressure on the UN to sanction DR racist governments….but no such luck….they dont even address, confront and destroy the pockets of racism in their own tiny countries….they glorify that evil instead.

    They are just as disgraceful as DR governments.

    Like

  7. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service November 30, 2017 at 1:02 PM #

    Pacha….I dont know if am the only one who noticed it or the only one who will voice it, but these are the same Black governments who are pursuing UK and Europe for reparations for committing the same crimes against their ancestors. …for centuries.

    DR governments have been committing these crimes against Haitian Black people for decades and not one Caribbean government would man up and call for extreme sanctions against DR..

    ……they are all enabling today the same practices against their own Black Caribbean people, for which they are seeking reparations from UK and EU……each and every Caribbean government. .

    See now why they cant be trusted with reparations in the form of money.

    See now why EU refuses so far….to take them seriously.

    Like

  8. fortyacresandamule November 30, 2017 at 2:32 PM #

    @Pacha . The whole black world is afflicted by colorism. Jamaica is no exception. Black people the world over are conditioned this way.

    One of this kind of behavior that stands out, is our propensity to
    marry outside of our group or to choose lighter hue partners, when we accquired fame and wealth. I dare say, Obama and Michelle is not the norm in the USA. In most cases, Obama’s wife would have been white.

    Like

  9. David November 30, 2017 at 2:39 PM #

    Didn’t Jamaica throwout Haitians rufugess a while back?

    https://antiguaobserver.com/jamaica-immigration-haitian-refugees-sent-back-home/

    Like

  10. fortyacresandamule November 30, 2017 at 3:20 PM #

    I am not surprised. The Jamaica Labour Party(JLP), of which PM Holness belongs, is a conservative party in Jamaica, especially in foreign relation issues. It was the same party that pulls Jamaica out of the federation. It was the same party, with Seaga as leader, that allied with Reagan and Eugenia Charles to invade Grenada.The same party that thwarts Jamaica’s accession to the CCJ. Go figure.

    In Jamaica, it is the party that gets a lot of support from the heirs of the old plantation class.

    Like

  11. fortyacresandamule November 30, 2017 at 3:32 PM #

    @David. Everybody is deporting Haitians. Bahamas just recently give notice to all illegals in the country (mostly Haitians) to regularise by December, after which mass deportation begins.

    This is what happens to migrants from poor countries. When you are poor you get no respect or love. Even your own despised you and treat you with contempt. And those with empathy, treat you with pity.

    Like

  12. Well Well & Cut N' Paste At Your Service November 30, 2017 at 3:40 PM #

    Particularly when they are maliciously and systematically being kept poor….by design….for centuries.

    Like

  13. fortyacresandamule November 30, 2017 at 3:43 PM #

    Baby Doc wedding cost a fortune in poverty stricken Haiti. And who did he married?… go figure. Haiti has been independent for too long to be so poor.

    Like

  14. Shonta Worrell November 30, 2017 at 3:59 PM #

    Feckin xenophobes, there’s just no getting away from these mofos, is there?

    Like

  15. fortyacresandamule November 30, 2017 at 4:00 PM #

    Black countries like: Ethipoia, Liberia , Sierra Leone and Haiti should have reached at least middle-income status by now. Instead they are in the top 15 of the wold’s poorest countries. Ethiopia was never colonized. Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Haiti have been independent for over or close to 200 years.

    Like

  16. Shonta Worrell November 30, 2017 at 4:02 PM #

    Got a million opinions, and haven’t read one single book since they left school. But dey got de FB!!! An dem emojis!!!!!

    Like

  17. Kevin December 1, 2017 at 8:20 PM #

    How about an open invitation to those Haitians to migrate here………

    Like

  18. David December 1, 2017 at 11:23 PM #

    @Kevin

    Your comment addresses the concern of the author?

    Like

  19. Kevin December 2, 2017 at 2:45 PM #

    @ David, in a way, yes.

    Like

  20. millertheanunnaki December 2, 2017 at 6:37 PM #

    @DAVID COMISSIONG,Citizen of the Caribbean and President of the Clement Payne Movement (Barbados):

    ““ Over the past two years, the Government of the Dominican Republic has orchestrated and /or presided over the mass deportation to neighbouring Haiti of close to 200,000 dark-skinned residents of the Dominican Republic.

    These persons (men, women and children) were selected for deportation on the ground that – even though they might have been born in the Dominican Republic – they are the children of so-called undocumented Haitian migrants and are therefore not eligible for Dominican citizenship.””

    It is also a very, very probability that these same Spanish-speaking black-skin men, women and children are ‘unrepentant’ devotees to Roman Catholicism and unswerving adorers of La Sagrada Família and who themselves, poor as they are, represent some of the most committed contributors to the Vatican coffers.

    That’s what happens to stupid blacks when they become more enthusiastic in worshipping the white man’s god and adopting his religion.

    So D C, why not send a petition in the form of a black liberation bull to His Holy Highness Pope Francis to remind him of his pledge to honour the principles of Saint Francis of Assisi?

    In that bull you must demand of the Pope to either instruct the DR Government to stop the ethnic cleansing (Rohingya Muslims style) of some of his most devoted black-skin followers in Hispaniola or better yet Quisqueya or else BU Bushie’s BBE (aka Zeus Yahweh or Jupiter) will send a lighting bolt to set alight St. Peter’s Basilica to raze it to the ground and bring an end to the fraud perpetrated since 325 CE.

    “Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
    Where there is hatred, let me bring love.
    Where there is offense, let me bring pardon.
    Where there is discord, let me bring union.
    Where there is error, let me bring truth.
    Where there is doubt, let me bring faith.
    Where there is despair, let me bring hope.
    Where there is darkness, let me bring your light.
    Where there is sadness, let me bring joy.
    O Master, let me not seek as much
    to be consoled as to console,
    to be understood as to understand,
    to be loved as to love,
    for it is in giving that one receives,
    it is in self-forgetting that one finds,
    it is in pardoning that one is pardoned,
    it is in dying that one is raised to eternal life.”

    Like

  21. David December 4, 2017 at 9:38 AM #

    Would appreciate our Jamaican brothers and sisters sharing their views.

    Like

  22. Ron Ball December 7, 2017 at 10:07 AM #

    The actions of the government of the Dominican Republic and some of its citizens is absolutely deplorable! They are no better than the “Nazis” back in the 40’s. Tourists should refuse to go there and their products should be boycotted! They need to be taught a lesson .. this sort of behaviour cannot be condoned in any fashion!

    Like

  23. Winston Mcleod December 8, 2017 at 7:51 PM #

    The Government of Jamaica should be informed of our displeasure and anger as black People of the granting of the most highest honour of the land to a racist Government of Domnician Republic what would Marcus Garvey make of this Betrayal to our Race.

    Like

  24. Tioma Allison December 10, 2017 at 4:06 PM #

    Disgraceful! As a proud Jamaican, I am disgusted at this move that seems to condone these deportations that amount to genocide. Shame, Andrew Holness, shame!

    Like

  25. David December 10, 2017 at 4:44 PM #

    Are Jamaicans discussing in the homes, talk shows and the like?

    >

    Like

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