Caribbean integration a farce
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The continuous disrespect shown to some Jamaicans visiting Trinidad and Tobago is quite disheartening. Not so long ago, Jamaica was considered the pearl of the Caribbean, with a robust economy and the envy of other islands. Unfortunately, today we are mistreated and humiliated by other Caribbean countries mainly because our government is unable to create fulfilling opportunities for our people.
How did we allow ourselves to get to this level where we are treated like scum? How many futile diplomatic talks are we going to have in an attempt to solve this serious problem?
Currently, we import so many products from Trinidad and Tobago that we could produce in our own country. As far as I am concerned, the whole idea of Caribbean integration and cooperation is nothing but a farce. Caribbean integration will continue to be a dream because of the lack of political will to implement the rules agreed on at the community level.
The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas allows for the legal right of free movement of CARICOM members and skilled labour without harassment or the imposition of impediments. In the recent landmark case of Shanique Myrie v Barbados, the Caribbean Court of Justice held that freedom of movement within member states can only be denied if the person is deemed undesirable or a charge on public funds and the person must be told the reason for refusal. I was quite hopeful that this case would have changed the way CARICOM nationals are treated and finally remove the shackles of reverse discrimination. But alas, I was too optimistic.
We continue to witness on a daily basis many Jamaicans being refused entry into Trinidad and Tobago without being given any reason for denial of entry.
Jamaicans need to support our local farmers and restrict importation of goods and services that we can produce locally. We must stand up against the mistreatment and injustice against us and become more independent.