Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 9th 2015 Contents B1
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The Dominican Republic has been coun-
tering growing pressure against its contro-
versial repatriation programme with the claim
that the country, which shares the island of
Hispaniola with Haiti, has been the subject
of what amounts to a massive regional and
international propaganda campaign.
President chief of staff, Gustavo Moltavo,
said in a statement Saturday that heightened
condemnation of what he described as an
orderly repatriation of undocumented immi-
grants from his country resulted from the fact
that "our government may not have been ...
efficient in its lobbying strategy or mobilising
the international media."
This echoed a similar claim by President
Danilo Medina at a June meeting of the Central
American Integration System (SICA) where he
suggested that the Dominican Republic had
been the target of a "dirty smear campaign
that turns a deaf ear to all the guarantees we
have set for protecting people."
His claim was that Haiti and its regional
and international allies had "preferred to
announce a non-existent humanitarian crisis."
"We will not bow to the false accusations
of racism or xenophobia, which are completely
unfounded in a country characterised by mis-
cegenation for centuries," Medina said.
So far, according to Dominican officials,
more than 30,000 undocumented Haitian
immigrants have flowed back over the border
in keeping with a June 17 registration deadline
for commencing the process of regularisation.
The Haitians say this was as a result of force.
One Santo Domingo source, however, told
T&T Guardian on Tuesday, "Things are very
calm at the border."
The deadline for "self-deportation" of those
who have not registered was July 6 though,
according to freelance journalist, Ezra Fieser,
"The government hasn t started rounding peo-
ple up like some people have said will hap-
Close to 290,000 more who have opted to
be a part of the process have until an extended
deadline of early August to be regularised.
Though there have for years been issues
associated with the heavy influx of undocu-
mented Haitians into the Dominican Republic,
with generations of settlers opting for perma-
nent residence, a September 2013 ruling by
the country s constitutional court affirmed
that "birthright citizenship" (jus soli) was not
permitted, in keeping with a 2010 constitutional
Former Jamaican prime minister Bruce Gold-
ing suggested in a recent newspaper column
that while the move by the DR to expel Haitians
on such grounds, retroactive to births since
1929, was "an atrocity" such a constitutional
provision existed in more than one Caribbean
jurisdiction. This does not include T&T which
is subject to the principle of "jus soli".
"Caricom has been strident in condemning
the DR s actions," Golding wrote. "Yet it has
to be careful, lest it be embarrassed by the
beam in its own eye."
Staged, ironically, in a Caribbean country
in which a repudiation of birthright citizenship
was heavily advocated by the ruling adminis-
tration in 2009, last week s Bridgetown meeting
of Caricom leaders heavily repudiated the DR s
The leaders "expressed their abhorrence and
outrage with respect to the treatment of
Dominicans of Haitian descent and Haitian
migrants in the Dominican Republic," the con-
ference communiqué says.
They warned of what they perceived as "the
makings of a grave humanitarian crisis in the
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-
moon, who attended the Caricom meeting,
said he too shared the region s concerns "about
citizenship issues on the island of Hispanio-
"I have discussed this with the President
of the Dominican Republic and trust there will
be further progress in resolving this matter,
protecting the rights of affected persons, and
preventing the deprivation of nationality," he
said. "This is a matter of human rights and
For his part, Haitian President Michel
Martelly is of the view that the situation has
"already announced (shown) signs of a human-
itarian disaster that could destabilise the country
and its economy."
PR or human rights disaster?
Astronomers have discovered a very rare
system of five connected stars.
The quintuplet consists of a pair of closely
linked stars---binaries---one of which has a lone
companion; it is the first known system of its
The pair of stars orbit around a mutual centre
of gravity, but are separated by more than the
distance of Pluto's orbit around the Sun. The
findings have been presented at the UK National
Astronomy Meeting in Llandudno.
The unusual system lies 250 light-years away
in the constellation Ursa Major. It was discovered
in data gathered by the SuperWasp (Wide
Angle Search for Planets) project.
This uses relatively small and low-cost
cameras in the Canary Islands and South Africa
to image much of the sky every few minutes.
Measurements of the brightness of individual
stars are, over years, assembled into light
curves---plots of brightness against time.
When the stars pass in front of one another,
they produce a regular pattern of pairs of dips in
the light curve .He added that systems
containing this many linked stars were
extremely rare, but at least one other five-star
system had been discovered by Nasa's Kepler
planet-hunting telescope. (BBC)
Rare system of five stars discovered
Dominican Republic/Haiti crisis...
Continues on Page B2
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