BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Following the release of a poll showing widespread support for its stance on immigration, the government has announced that it does not intend to abandon plans to introduce a comprehensive immigration strategy.
“We have embarked upon the development of a comprehensive immigration policy which will be introduced shortly. There will be no turning back on this issue,” Prime Minister David Thompson told delegates attending the annual Democratic Labour Party (DLP) conference last Sunday.
Thompson’s comments came a day after a recently-conducted public opinion poll showed 70 per cent of Barbadians supported his recent stance on immigration, with more than half of those surveyed also giving the nod of approval to the government’s decision to offer a six-month amnesty for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals living in Barbados illegally to regularize their status or face deportation.
“I am not surprised that Barbadians overwhelmingly support the government’s stance…those who prefer to wear blinkers confined their view and perspective of this matter to the issue of our embracing free movement of CARICOM nationals.
“There is much more than our embrace of the principle of an integrated Caribbean and I am inspired by the fact that close to 70 per cent of Barbadians understands this,” Thompson said.
The poll, conducted by Caribbean Development Research Services and commissioned by the DLP, found that only 14 per cent did not support Thompson’s stance on immigration.
“I have said repeatedly that we have to set and maintain standards in relation to the quality of life that we wish for ourselves and for all persons calling Barbados home. I want to say here and now that, as Prime Minister of this country, I have had as much as I am willing to take, as far as the unfair and unwarranted maligning of Barbados and Barbadians by those (to) whom we have extended a welcoming hand…,” Thompson said.