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Jamaica, take the Haitians in!

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

I am flabbergasted, to say the least, that some Jamaicans are against taking in Haitian refugees. How can this be? At this time, when things cannot get any worse for the Haitians, why would we comfortably refuse their entry?

Naturally, it's going to consume some of our already limited resources, but this is a really dark period in Haiti's history and what they need is more than just handouts. I admit that the Haitians need to stay and help rebuild their country, but it is only natural that many will flee in an attempt to escape the inconceivable hardships that they are now facing.

Hypocritical approach

And this concept is certainly not foreign to Jamaicans, as we migrate in droves on a yearly basis in search of greener pastures and a better life. We leave to escape the social and economic hardships that beset us, many of us unwilling to stay and fight to save our beloved country. Plus, we always demand that other countries accept us with open arms and, many times, some of our migrants have led less than exemplary lives, causing strife to others and giving us a bad name abroad.

So now that our neighbour is in real need, we quickly want to close our doors. We are happy to give clothes and tin foods but unwilling to really sacrifice and give what is really needed: a respite from that environmental apocalypse. This is a true test of our sincerity and maybe, just like the rich countries which are complicit in Haiti's poverty-stricken status, we are just off-loading some guilt with each pallet of food or water that we give, for the hands-off approach that we (CARICOM) have taken with Haiti in the past.

I hope Jamaica, as a leader of CARICOM, will work with the other member-countries to deal with this inescapable and imminent issue of Haitian refugees, to come up with the best solution.

I am etc.,

Jermaine Boreland