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PUBLISHED IN THE SUNDAY GLEANER - October 22, 2023: Dennis Minott| THIS IS A STRANGE THING ...


The 36 Haitians who came to Portland in September. - Jamaica Gleaner

Dennis Minott - Jamaica Gleaner


In the heart of this perplexing Haitian refugees in Jamaica scenario lies a disconcerting set of issues. It’s impossible to overlook the disorienting, putrid, fishy, “dark” and deeply concerning manner in which the highest echelons of leadership in Jamaica are handling the arrival of Haitian refugees on our shores.


A narrative has been artfully crafted, one that invokes the terms “national security threats” and “people-trafficking” with a calculated, and cynical precision, all in reference to these vulnerable, impoverished souls seeking solace and refuge amidst their fellows and family in eastern Jamaica.


The decision of these desperate individuals to embark on a perilous sea journey in affordable ramshackle vessels, helmed by seasoned mariners, instead of risking a voyage under the command of a novice through the treacherous Windward Passage during the height of storm season is a choice that warrants our empathy, not condemnation. Who are we to hastily label these seasoned mariners as repeat human traffickers or security threats, bypassing due process and denying them and their enfeebled passengers, kids, women, and men, their rightful protections under the law? Which functionary directs these un-Jamaican activities with impunity?


The question that looms large is how our honourable leaders, the very individuals whose identities we will delve into shortly, can permit and abet these moral transgressions and glaring illegalities being perpetuated by those whom we employ for protection and good order in Jamaican society.


1. Jamaica’s head of state is a practising Seventh-day Adventist deputising for another Christian in England.


2 Jamaica’s head of government, our prime minister, is a practising Seventh-day Adventist.


3. Jamaica’s speaker of Parliament is a practising Seventh-day Adventist and a mother.


4 Jamaica’s head of the civil service is a practising Seventh-day Adventist and a mother.


5 Jamaica has and had several ministers of government from both major parties who are practising Seventh-day Adventists and parents.


6 Jamaica’s head of the judiciary is a practising born-again Baptist, a chief justice selected from among the finest of his peers of eminent jurists and a parent.


7 Jamaica has several high government officials and people from the Opposition leadership who are members of Swallowfield Gospel Fellowship (Christian Brethren), led by an attorney-at-law for decades. (NBB, I declare that I’ve belonged to that same group of church assemblies for 64 years.)


To me, law-breaking, cruelty, immorality, and two-faced prettied-up barbarity are among the last things that I could ever expect from Jamaica’s political class under such distinguished leadership. Jesus, tek dis case, ah beg yuh.


Here’s, the thing:


The decision by the Jamaican Government to repatriate the 35 Haitians who arrived in Portland on Sunday is a breach of international law and a moral outrage. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights have issued directives for states to suspend the forced return of Haitians, and the 2023 UN Humanitarian Response Plan states that the country is facing a humanitarian crisis.


The Jamaican Government has a legal and moral obligation to protect the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers. The principle of non-refoulement is enshrined in international law, and it prohibits states from returning individuals to a country where they would face a real risk of persecution. The Jamaican Government is also a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, which guarantees the right of asylum-seekers to a fair and efficient procedure for determining their refugee status.


In addition to its legal obligations, the Jamaican Government also has a moral obligation to help the Haitian people. Haiti is facing a humanitarian crisis, with millions of people in need of food, water, and shelter. The country is also plagued by violence and gang activity. To return Haitians to their homeland under these circumstances is to put them in grave danger.


The Jamaican Government’s decision to repatriate the 35 Haitians is a violation of international law and a moral outrage. The government must immediately reverse this decision and allow the Haitians to remain in Jamaica until their asylum claims can be processed fairly and efficiently.


Do you see what I mean, Sister Elaine of the JUGGCC?


I recommend that every member of the Cabinet and all aspiring leaders in our country, plus all members of the JUGGCC read the two National Bestsellers cited below:


Peck, M. S. (1983). People of The Lie: The Hope for Healing Human Evil. Simon & Schuster and Peck, M. S. (1978). The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth. Simon & Schuster.


M. Scott Peck, M.D., is a psychiatrist and bestselling author of many books. Educated at Harvard (B.A.) and Case Western Reserve (M.D.), Dr Peck served in administrative posts in the government and was a psychiatrist in private practice. Recently, he has devoted much of his time and financial resources to the work of the Foundation for Community Encouragement, a nonprofit organisation that he and his wife, Lily, helped found in 1984. He lives in northern Connecticut, United States.


Bob is no longer with us but six words he sang: “Man to man is so unjust” and, if I could sing, my song would start with nine words: “Black man to black man can.....”


Dry-mouthed Jamaican government authority meets and greets a dry-clothed Haitian refugee ...with 'right hand of fellowship'.


Dennis Minott, PhD, is the CEO of A-QuEST-FAIR. He is a renewable energy specialist and worked in the oil and energy sector. Send feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com


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