Local March 14, 2014 | 7:41 am

Dominican Republic nationality row widens rift with Caribbean neighbors

Santo Domingo.- Careless, disrespectful and provocative is what Catholic bishop, the heads of the Electoral Board and an opposition party, and the National Business Council on Thursday called statements by Caribbean Community (Caricom) president Ralph Gonsalves, who said he’ll not take part in the talks between Dominican Republic and Haiti, until the Executive submits to Congress a bill to naturalize thousands of offspring of undocumented Haitian immigrants.

The latest exchange of criticisms will likely widen the rift between Dominican Republic and its non-Hispanic Caribbean neighbors, but has prompted diverse local sectors to rally behind the government.

Bishop Agripino Nuñez said Dominican Republic has to learn not to act under pressure, from organizations such as Caricom, and called on the citizens to support Medina on immigration and ignore Gonsalves.

PRD party president Miguel Vargas said the head of Caricom disrespected the country and said he supports everything regarding national sovereignty and the regulation of immigrants. "A provocative, unnecessary pressure, an undiplomatic and unethical manner to handle this sort of thing, but the country has shown that it’s determined to really establish its sovereignty and will prevail."

Business Council (Conep) president Manuel Diez called Gonsalves’ comment “unfortunate,” while Electoral Board president Roberto Rosario said the threat by the also Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is “reckless,” and hailed his decision not to participate in the Dominican-Haitian dialogue, because in his view, the Caricom leader isn’t impartial."If he doesn’t feel comfortable, withdraw from the talk."

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