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T&T denying Jamaicans entry may worsen relations

Published:Friday | November 22, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Private sector organisations in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are worried that the recent spate of Jamaicans being turned away from the twin-island republic will further serve to deteriorate the already troubled trade relations between the two CARICOM countries.

Naika Pichi-Ayers, Jamaica-Trinidad and Tobago trade facilitation officer with the twin-island's manufacturing association, said yesterday's report about Jamaicans being turned back at the Piarco International Airport in Port-of-Spain is troubling.

"I don't know the details of the issue, but of course, it will affect, badly, businesses. If people cannot come freely, into Trinidad to, for example, do business, because I don't know what they are being stopped for, but if they cannot come freely and have that fear about the T&T market, it will not only affect the social relationship but the businesses as well," Pichi-Ayers told The Gleaner yesterday.

She said the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association was concerned and trying its best to collaborate with businesses both in her country and in Jamaica to rectify the perennial problems between the two countries.

Yesterday, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) called for CARICOM to step in and deal with the current issues.

A statement from the organisation noted that it was disappointed with 13 Jamaicans being denied entry into Trinidad on Tuesday night and that this incident now calls into question the relevance of the regional trade bloc, CARICOM.

The PSOJ noted that following the recent developments the governments in CARICOM should urgently initiate "dialogue and consultations in order to prevent further deterioration in CARICOM relations, which can result".