Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Caricom Should Aid Refugees

Published:Thursday | September 17, 2015 | 12:00 AM

The Editor Sir;

The majority of people who constitute the Caribbean Region's 30 plus million present day inhabitants can directly trace their genetic heritage to people who no doubt came to these sandy shores by ships, some forcefully and criminally trafficked, while others came in search of better livelihoods.

These predecessors, our forebears, were victims, refugees and migrants. Over the last couple of months, the collective gaze of the world's attention has been fixed on the unfolding crisis that now engulfs the European Continent. We look on day-to-day at the large swathes of human beings which are fleeing their homelands in droves, some fleeing the war zones of Syria and Afghanistan while others seek to escape economic oppression in Eritrea and Sudan. These human beings are in search of better livelihoods.

Considering our status as members of an ever shrinking global community and given our historical reality of being descendants of slaves, migrants and refugees, one cannot help but to find it quite sad that the Caribbean Community has remained largely silent, if not ignorant of the burgeoning situation. I am afraid that the time for issuing statements has long passed, at this moment, only action will suffice, and this action must take the form of resettlement of refugees.

The truth is that small island states will never have neither the space nor resources to play hosts to thousands, but we can do our part if only to give shelter to hundreds. Our big brother to the north has awaken from his slumber, now it's our turn, we too as a region must also take refugees, this will no doubt be hard but it should be made easier by the fact that many Caribbean states already have existing Syrian and African Communities.

Noel Matherson

noelmatherson@gmail.com