AUDIO: Some Jamaicans lied on immigration forms, says T&T gov't
Damion Mitchell, News Editor - Radio
Trinidad and Tobago's National Security Minister Gary Griffith has responded to the controversy over the denial of entry of 13 Jamaicans seeking to enter his country last week, saying it was an exception.
Speaking on CEEN TV, Griffith said, on average, only about two Jamaicans on a flight from Kingston are denied entry, and he said this is purely because they do not satisfy all the immigration requirements.
Griffith says in the case of the 13 Jamaicans last week, they also failed to convince immigration authorities that they were bona fide visitors.
In fact, Griffith said in some cases, the Jamaicans lied on their immigration forms.
On the weekend, Trinidadian officials released figures indicating that in the past three years, more 1,000 Jamaicans have been denied entry to the twin island republic.
However, Griffith maintains that his immigration officers only admit visitors who meet all the immigration requirements.
In the meantime, he has admitted that Trinidad and Tobago needs to make changes to its immigration systems consistent with the recent ruling in the Shanique Myrie case.
The Caribbean Court of Justice reinforced the CARICOM policy for the free movement of people within the region, and placed the burden of proof on the state refusing entry that the visitor would likely be a charge on the public purse or a threat to society.
The Court also held that where a CARICOM national is refused entry into a member state on a legitimate ground, that individual should be given the opportunity to consult an attorney or consular official from their own country, or to contact a family member.
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