Thursday, April 18, 2024

Now a human trafficking row

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By RICKEY SINGHAS HAS HAPPENED quite often in recent years with respect to its annual reports on drug trafficking in the Caribbean, the United States of America now seems to have stirred up a hornet’s nest by its latest report on Trafficking in Persons (TIP) with Guyana, for one,  loudly crying “foul” and calling for an apology.In its just-released 2010 TIP Report, the United States State Department has spread its accusations to blaming governments – Jamaica, included – for failing to provide required “comprehensive data” during the reporting period.For its part, the Guyana Government lost no time in going on the offensive on Monday against the United States State Department, using undiplomatic language to dismiss the 2010 TIP Report in reference to that Caricom state as “sheer ‘eye-pass’ (creolese for insult); “crap” and “diatribe”. One of the reasons for the Guyana Government’s anger, as reported from the media briefing, was an unsubstantiated claim in the US report that approximately 984 children were removed from exploitative child labour between 2005 to 2009. Guyana’s Minister Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett, who was among participants at last week’s meeting in Barbados of United States Secretary of State and Caribbean Foreign Ministers, has been authorised to immediately lodge a formal protest with the United States and seek an explanation on inaccuracies in the TIP report that “hurts (Guyana/USA) friendship”. TIP reports by the United States State Department generally make claims of criminal networkings that involve forced prostitution of women, girls and boys, as well as exploitation of child labour and also engages in a policy of selective category ratings of governments responses to the challenges of trafficking in persons –known to be a sickening world-wide human tragedy.      Both Jamaica and Guyana are currently on the US so-called “Tier-2” category rating, which is designed to show some positive response – but not sufficiently, as pre-determined by the American authorities – in dealing with the crime of human trafficking. Guyana’s Minister of Human Services and Social Security, is, however, is not only questioning the rationale of the ratings category but feels that an appropriate “apology” from Washington was necessary. In providing an “overview” at Monday’s media briefing of her government’s ongoing: “anti-TIP programme”, the minister argued that “there is no justification” for this placement of Guyana and the report should be “withdrawn with an apology” In view of recurring controversial claims in United States State Department reports on the trade in humans in the Caribbean, as well as over illicit drugs and trafficking in small arms, it is to be expected that these problems will be addressed at next month’s CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in Montego Bay.

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