Published On: Thu, Jan 10th, 2013

Turks and Caicos minister attempts damage control over Haitian migrant remarks

PROVIDENCIALES, Turks and Caicos Islands – DonHue Gardiner, who made international news for remarking in the Turks and Caicos Islands House of Assembly that it is his goal as immigration minister to make the lives of illegal Haitian migrants “unbearable”, has engaged in some attempted damage control in relation to the fallout from his comments.

In an interview on local television this week, Gardiner said he was not just singling out Haitians.

At the same time, however, he seemed to be equally concerned that his remarks were widely published, bemoaning the fact that “It’s a smaller world today and information reaches other countries quickly.”

He went on to repeat his call for all citizens to report all illegals and report all those harbouring illegal immigrants. He said this also applies to belongers.

“Those obtaining belongership own a part of the country and must do their part and invoke pride as a Turks and Caicos islander to enforce laws and make sure these people are picked up and dealt with... we must not be so accommodating to these illegal immigrants,” Gardiner said.

This is not the first time Gardiner’s party, the Progressive National Party (PNP), has been embroiled in controversy over the treatment of illegal Haitian migrants.

During a previous PNP administration in September 2007, when Gardiner was a backbench member of parliament, three Haitians in custody in Providenciales died from dehydration. They had been detained in a metal building without ventilation and without adequate drinking water.

By Caribbean News Now contributor

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