Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Letter of the day: Fix trade relations with Trinidad

Published:Tuesday | April 12, 2016 | 4:00 AM
Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The last time I checked, Jamaica was located approximately 1,900km from Trinidad. This is relatively very close in the global landscape. It is for that reason we have a Caribbean Community (CARICOM) based on our proximity with member countries.

CARICOM comprises 15 Caribbean nations for the express purpose of promoting economic integration among members. I was rather disturbed with the recent incident wherein Trinidad appeared to be viewing Jamaicans as tenement-yard visitors wanting to enter their prestigious community.

Community law is clear and specific: It calls for free movement of nationals within the community, and supersedes national law in so far as it stands to the best interest and agreed purpose of the respective community.

We must be careful how we present the facts of a situation without hearing the full accounts of both parties. What were the reasons behind the Trinidad authorities' decisions to deny Jamaicans entry? This has long been a sensitive issue over the years between both countries. As such, I think the authorities would be very cautious and prudent, rather than being puerile.

Trinidad and Jamaica are two of the major countries in the region and there really is no need for a trade war. The Jamaican market is Trinidad's preferred platinum-card client. It stands to reason that just like any successful private company, you want to woo and give special treatment to these clients.

Let us meet at the table and not conflate the issues. Both countries have a vested interest in the development of the region.

RICHARD LONGMORE

General Manager

Jamaica Racing Commission