Entry denied! Gov't disturbed as T&T turns back 'significant number' of Jamaicans
The Jamaican Government has placed Trinidad and Tobago on notice that it has become alarmed that several of its citizens have been denied entry into that eastern Caribbean nation over recent weeks.
The concern comes after the most recent case in which 12 Jamaicans were turned back from the twin-island republic on Tuesday and returned home.
Reports are that the 12 were stopped at the Piarco International Airport in Port-of-Spain after they disembarked a Caribbean Airlines flight.
Head of corporate communications at Caribbean Airlines Clint Williams confirmed the reports yesterday.
"We can confirm that there were 12 passengers on flight 475 who were refused entry by immigration in Trinidad and they returned to Kingston the next morning," Williams told The Gleaner.
He said he could not give any further details on what transpired at the airport.
Calls to the twin-island republic's immigration division, for further details, went unanswered.
But yesterday, Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade noted it had become aware that, "over the past several weeks, a significant number of Jamaicans have been denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago and returned to Jamaica within days on the grounds that the immigration authorities of Trinidad and Tobago have deemed them ineligible to land as bonafide visitors".
In a release, the ministry said it was concerned at this development and was continuing to interface with the relevant authorities in Trinidad and Tobago on the matter, especially in light of the recent Shanique Myrie ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).
In that case, the CCJ ruled that the Barbados government breached Myrie's right to enter the country under Article 5 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas. She was awarded almost J$4 million in compensation.
"The Jamaican High Commission has, when the incidents have been brought to their attention, sought to ensure that those to be returned are properly accommodated prior to their removal to Jamaica," the ministry said in its release.
In September, the foreign affairs ministry reported that 19 Jamaicans were being held in Trinidad and Tobago for return.
At the time, the ministry said all Jamaicans who were refused entry in CARICOM countries, should lodge a written report with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade.
Few reports made
"A few Jamaican nationals have reported the incidents to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Kingston and the Jamaican High Commission in Trinidad and Tobago," the ministry said yesterday.
"Thereafter, the high commission has been instructed to obtain clarification and information from the Trinidad and Tobago authorities. In some cases, the intervention of the high commission has resulted in a reversal of the original decision."
The ministry noted, however, that Jamaicans should be aware that the freedom-of-movement provision under the revised treaty does not, by itself, automatically confer permission to work.
"In order to take up employment of any nature, persons falling outside of the 10 agreed categories will require work permits or work-permit exemptions," the ministry said. "It should also be noted that those who are not in any of the categories of skilled persons, are not temporary service providers or who are not exercising the right to establishment, will require work-permit approvals in the respective CARICOM territories, in advance of travel."
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has reminded Jamaicans travelling to CARICOM countries for business, study, tourism, or personal affairs, must be in possession of the following:
1. A valid passport with at least six months validity;
2. A return airline ticket as appropriate to the purpose of the visit;
3. An adequate amount of money to meet living expenses during the visit;
4. Information (name, complete address and contact details) for their accommodation, whether hotel or private residence;
5. The name and full details of their host or sponsor;
6. Where possible, documentation confirming the purpose of the visit; and
7. The name and telephone number, preferably the mobile number, of anyone meeting them at the airport.