Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has called for the Dominican Republic to be suspended from PetroCaribe until its government “acts decisively to correct” the “dastardly ruling” of its constitutional court, which effectively revokes citizenship to some 250,000 persons of Haitian descent born in the Dominican Republic.
Gonsalves, in letter on Monday to President of the Dominican Republic, Danilo Medina, said that if the situation for citizens-by-birth of the Dominican Republic of Haitian descent is not favourably altered, he intends to raise the matter “forcefully” at the Ninth Summit of PetroCaribe in Caracas on December 13.
He also said that in addition to his public call for the suspension of the Dominican Republic from CARIFORUM — a regional bloc comprising CARICOM and the Dominican Republic — he has written to President of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, asking him to consider suspending Santo Domingo from PetroCaribe, Venezuela’s oil alliance, pending the resolution of the matter.
Gonsalves’ letter to Medina was his second in a month since the Sept. 23 ruling by the Constitutional Court in Dominican Republic.
The ruling retroactively denies Dominican nationality to anyone born after 1929, who does not have at least one parent of Dominican blood.
The ruling comes under a constitutional clause declaring all others to be either in the country illegally or “in transit”.
The Prime Minister said that St. Vincent and the Grenadines has led the way on behalf of the 15-member Caribbean Community and the wider Organisation of American States “in condemning the ruling of the Court, and the reluctance of [the Medina] government to effect an alteration of the Court’s jaundiced and unacceptable decision.
“My government and others have been very firm in their condemnation of the Court’s ruling and their profound disappointment at the equivocating stance of your government,” Gonsalves said.
“Civil Society and prominent individuals in Latin America, the Caribbean and globally have joined in their denunciation of the Court’s ruling and the posture of your government,” he further said.
“My dear brother, I urge that you act swiftly in pursuing a path to correct the Court’s prejudiced denial of the human and citizenship rights of persons of Haitian descent born in your country.
“Frankly, this is a matter on which quiet diplomacy and muted behind-the-scenes dialogue are wholly insufficient. Accordingly, St. Vincent and the Grenadines has taken a robust stance publicly on this matter, while urging you to act properly in the humanity and decency,” Gonsalves said in his letter to Medina.
Last week, hundreds of people took to the streets of Santo Domingo in support of the court ruling.