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Jamaica's foreign minister says T&T's Griffith 'does not seem to get it'

Published:Sunday | October 12, 2014 | 5:59 PM

Jamaica's foreign minister has urged the Trinidad security minister to refrain from making comments that could impact the investigations into the deportation of 13 Jamaicans last month.



Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator AJ Nicholson, said the issue is not about the Jamaicans being denied entry into Trinidad, but more about the reasons for denying entry and treatment of the affected persons following the decision to refuse entry.



In a story published in today's Sunday Gleaner, Trinidad's National Security Minister Gary Griffith defended his country's decision to deny entry to the Jamaicans, claiming that there were some 19,000 Jamaicans living illegally in Trinidad, resulting in the loss of about TT$1 billion in tax revenues. He further claimed that the illegal Jamaicans created the potential for an exponential increase in crimes.



Griffith also insisted that Trinidad immigration authorities had not abused their authority. According to him, CARICOM nationals are not given automatic entry into Trinidad and that they must meet immigration requirements. He also highlighted section 46(3) of the Treaty of Chaguaramas to support his point, noting that the treaty provides for each territory to take steps to protect its citizens.



However, Nicholson fired back, saying the Trinidad national security minister "does not seem to get it" and advised him to refrain from making statements that could affect the probe.



Nicholson said the region needs to be assured that the Trinidad immigration authorities are abiding by the agreements reached between the foreign ministers of both countries, including the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice in the Shanique Myrie case.



The ruling established the parameters for both the landing of CARICOM nationals and how prospective returnees are to be treated.



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