Locals need to adapt to diverse culture says Liburd, as Powell points to lack of policies behind the way Non-nationals are treated

Speaking with MiyVue.com recently, the incumbent Minister of Culture and Gender Affairs Marcella Liburd explained that the cultural diversity is benefiting the country.

“When you look at any country that has advanced, you would see that a lot of it comes from its cultural diversity. Travel for example always expands you. Why? Because you are exposed to a different culture, and you can learn something from it, and they, in turn, can learn from you. They can be able to advance your country and you otherwise,” said Liburd.

She pointed out that the way persons do business would be influenced, as well as the way they relate to each other. “If we can bring the different cultures together, for me, it would be only to your benefit,” Liburd said.

Not all nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis are receptive to the mix of culture being seen in the Federation, but the minister noted that residents needed to be more open-minded for those persons who are not ”infringing“ the laws of the land.

She stated that it is a problem that needs to be addressed, because there are a number of Kittitians and Nevisian living abroad, and they are widely accepted, including those living in the Virgin Island.

“People have to understand we have a lot of Kittitians living in other people’s places too. A whole heap of Kittitians live in the Virgin Islands for example, and so, I think that it is one humanity and that is one of the things we have to address. We have to find ways and means of addressing the ways and means of living together peaceably. Especially with people who are not infringing your laws and who have shown that they would add value to your economy,” Liburd explained

Peoples Action Movement candidate and lawyer Jonel Powell told MiyVue.com that the negative “sentiments” meted out to foreign nationals living in St. Kitts and Nevis are being done because policies are not in place to address their needs.

He stated that many of the “Spanish” many of them are eligible for citizenship, but opportunities are not available for them after, including jobs and land”.

“Policies are not put in place to address the concerns of the expats coming in and for persons moving into St. Kitts and Nevis. For example, when you look at many persons from the Dominican Republic, many of them come here and are eligible to get citizenship, but they don’t get the opportunities that persons born in St. Kitts normally gets, despite being citizens themselves,” Powell lamented

Specifically, he pointed out that jobs and sustainable employment are not readily available and in the event that jobs are available, they are low-level jobs.

“Opportunities for housing, land needs and policies are not in places to give them that hand-up, and because they find themselves in difficulties for lack of these policies, it creates a certain sentiment by locals towards them,” Powell explained.

Like Liburd, Powell called on residents of St. Kitts and Nevis to embrace Caribbean nationals because, he too lived and worked in other territories and was treated fairly while overseas.

“I think we need to be specially sensitive to persons coming from other Caribbean islands. Many of our people went to other Caribbean islands to live and work. I myself went off and did it for two and a half years, when I was in Anguilla. We need to be more receptive to them in terms of creating an equal playing field especially in this day, when we talk about freedom of movement particularly amongst the OECS member states,” Powell said.

Many Caribbean nationals have utilized the free movement or the skilled worker initiative and travelled to the Federation, calling it their new home. However, not many locals are happy with that idea and some have publicly expressed their anger at that move. 


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