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Sunday 22 October 2017
Letters to the Editor

Yes, TT can be unkind to migrants

Yes, TT can

THE EDITOR: As a Guyanese living in TT, I am not surprised by the comments against my fellow Caribbean people in Dominica because, unfortunately, TT can be unkind to those who are different.

This unkindness varies, from harsh interactions with immigration officers, to jokes about stereotypes of Caribbean people, to open discussions about fellow Caribbean people moving to TT and disrupting the economic livelihood of nationals. I however believe that there are semblances of integration within the Caribbean.

We see this mainly in celebrations of our cultures like Carnival and Carifesta, and the mutual pain and moments of victory the West Indies cricket team provides us all.

However, our social and economic relations are at times marred with xenophobic integration — an embedded understanding that the region is home to all of us and therefore we should welcome each other with open arms, yet, a general dislike and mistrust of the intentions of Caribbean migrants.

We cannot continue to live with this inherent contradiction. As Caribbean people, we have a responsibility to challenge each other to move beyond stereotypes and assumptions about differences, and open our hearts, minds and country to those who have nothing left.

This Caribbean region is ours to love, maintain, develop and share. That means we, as migrants, have a right to live, study and work comfortably in this land, without fear of discrimination regardless of our nationality. I hope that true integration, not ideals of immigration tainted by unquestioned xenophobia, defines us. Our ideals around Caribbeanness extend beyond a name and a location. We are stronger as a united Caribbean region.

TIVIA COLLINS via e-mail

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