What makes us Bajan? This is the question I am asking myself as I listen to the plight of a family who has recently returned from the UK to reside in Barbados, and seeks to homeschool their children.
The couple in question used to homeschool their two children in the UK prior to coming to Barbados. The mother of the children, born in the UK, is herself the child of two Barbadians by birth. She had to apply for citizenship to reside here. She, the mother, by law is not allowed to apply for her children the same time she is applying for citizenship for herself. To me something seems not quite right there, and the saga continues.
This couple from the UK came to the African Heritage Foundation for assistance with their application to homeschool their children here in Barbados. After receiving her citizenship, the mother with the help of the “Foundation” made a successful application to the Ministry of Education, for her children to be homeschooled.
The application process for citizenship for the children is taking some time and thus an extension for the stay of the children in Barbados has to be granted. The immigration department is now saying that the mother needs to apply for a student visa to homeschool her children, before she can be granted the extension ( note permission was given to homeschool by the Ministry of Education already). The mother returned to the Ministry of Education to see if what the immigration is saying was correct, only to find out that she will have to get the student visa to be able to homeschool.
Now, as a charity that seeks to assist the people in our society, who are constantly marginalized and taken advantage of, the African Heritage Foundation is releasing this information as the first step in actively addressing this matter. The charity has consulted a lawyer who said “a person whose parents are Barbadian is a Barbadian”. But it seems that, that is only so in talk but in actuality you are only a Barbadian if given permission to be by the state.
The African Heritage Foundation would like to challenge this position taken by immigration and would like to know how the Barbadian public deems this situation.
The African Heritage Foundation is officially stating that it deems:
- It is against the rights of parents to have to pay the state to educate their children at home, when they are not using state resources.
- Parents should be allowed to apply for their children’s citizenship the same time they apply for theirs.
- People with Barbadian parents should be automatically be considered Barbadian. With proof they should need only to get their identification card and passport.
What do you think? Is the immigration department correct or does this matter need reviewing? The people should always have the last say on what goes on in this island and how our brothers and sisters are being treated. Let your voices be heard on this matter and make your presence felt by sharing this short article.