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Prof Girvan recuperates from fall

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Prof Norman Girvan is still recuperating from a serious fall while he was in the Dominican Republic earlier this month. Leader of the Movemement for Social Justice (MSJ) David Abdulah, a close friend, confirmed the incident to the T&T Guardian but said he could not divulge more information because of a request by Girvan’s family. He said: “He (Girvan) continues to receive medical attention.”



On January 9, two days after Girvan’s fall, Abdulah posted about the incident on his Facebook page. He wrote that Girvan “had to be airlifted to Martinique and is due to undergo surgery. His situation is serious.” Abdulah would not confirm whether Girvan was in Trinidad and reiterated that his family wished for privacy. A political economist and professor emeritus of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Girvan is a former secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). 


The Jamaican-born Girvan, 72, lives in Trinidad. He was in the DR in light of turmoil over a new law expelling people born in the country who have Haitian heritage. On September 23 the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Court stripped citizenship from over 210,000 Haitians born in Dominica after 1929. Since then, hundreds of undocumented Haitians continue to face arrests and expulsion from the country, and have been left stateless. The court ruling cannot be appealed.


Hispaniola, the island shared by the two countries, has a long history of immigration and border issues, where Haitians have migrated in large numbers to their neighbour country, in most cases to work as cheap labour. In December 2013, Girvan co-signed a letter to the Caribbean Community (Caricom) on behalf of the International Relations Institute (IIR) at UWI, saying the new law had the potential to denationalise hundreds of thousands of people.


Girvan has been an advocate against the law and that mass expulsion should stop. When contacted, Girvan’s longtime friend and former secretary general of Caricom Edwin Carrington did not know about the incident but said Girvan took a very strong position against the September court ruling in the Dominican Republic.


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