Sat | Sep 23, 2017

Jamaica's poor unwelcome abroad

Published:Wednesday | May 11, 2016 | 5:04 PM

THE EDITOR, Sir

Once a country has lost its economic dominance, its citizens

can never expect to be respected by others on the outside. Jamaica's economic decline has caused adverse 'ripple effect' on many aspects of our lives here at home and abroad. Jamaicans were once held in high esteem and we were respected all over the Caribbean; now we are looked on with disdain.

It is unfortunate that Jamaican nationals arriving at the Port of entry

in Barbados or Trinidad may be harassed and denied entry because

immigration officials make the assumption that such person may

become a 'public charge, or a liability' on their government. It's shameful. We should not have to be subjected to humiliation, ridicule and shamed anywhere in the world and particularly, within the Caribbean.

The experience must be embarrassing. I would not like to face such

humiliation regardless of the circumstance. But then again, on second

thought, I will not be intimidated by what others think. I will never allow myself to be 'defined' by anybody's perception of me as a Jamaican. I have too many options open to me as a citizen of the Caribbean.

The most important option is; I can insist on staying and risk being

declared 'persona non grata'. And sue them for violating my right to free travel. I am free to travel to countries of the Caribbean Common Market as citizen of Jamaica. I am bold to travel and spend my money in whatever form that is convenient, whether cash or credit - as determined by the bank.

Unfortunately. there are people without such options, and if immigration officials become doubtful or suspicious there may be reasons to ask a few pertinent questions. Regardless, there is no justification for disrespect, ridicule and shame. We detest the behaviour of those who are inclined to treat Jamaicans as 'potential liabilities, free-loaders' or bugaboos.

Glen George Wilson

Springfield

St. Elizabeth