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Migration Is Not A Novelty Neither A Crime
Just in case you may be feeling that there is something unique (and somehow vile) about Jamaicans, Guyanese, Caribbean nationals from the Eastern Caribbean taking up residence here, and Haitian Dominicans wanting to claim citizenship in the land of their birth, here is a statistic that should enlighten. In 2005, 190 million people (three per cent of the world’s population) lived outside of their place of birth.
One billion tourists travelled the world in 2012; it would be easy to conclude that tens of millions of that total would have stayed to find more rewarding jobs, study, marriage and doubtless other reasons. The point is we in T&T and other parts of the Caribbean have to stop acting as if migration is a novelty and or if the movement of peoples from one country to the other is a manifest crime.
The ironical aspect of this immigration buzz is that perhaps to a greater extent than any other region of the world, the Caribbean was created by “arrivants” and over the last couple hundred years and continuing, these said immigrant peoples have continued the movement in waves.
Archaeologists surmise that our great ancestors, the Amerindian peoples, crossed the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska hundreds of years ago and filtered through the Americas to Tierra del Fuego and across the Caribbean Sea; and they did so unconcerned with national boundaries, going wherever their minds, legs, horses and canoes would take them. Our great neighbour to the north is similarly a country created by immigrants, from Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean and Latin America.
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