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Jamaica granted US authorities waiver to detain local fishermen

The Government of Jamaica has disclosed that it granted a waiver to the US authorities allowing them to detain four Jamaican fishermen who have now filed a lawsuit against the United States Coast Guard on claims of being held in inhumane conditions for over a month.
 
In a media release Tuesday afternoon, the Foreign Affairs Ministry also stated that there is no record of any complaint of mistreatment lodged with the Jamaican Government by the men.
 
The Foreign Affairs Ministry has revealed that its waiver allowed for the arrest of five Jamaicans in 2017 under the Ship Rider agreement with the US, based on information regarding suspicion of trafficking in contraband, the location of the vessel, the Jamaican registration of the vessel and nationality of the crew.
 
It said the waiver was also granted on the condition that the health of the Jamaicans were guaranteed.
 
Four of those five men are now being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union in a lawsuit filed in a US court last week.
 
They claim they were stripped naked, chained to the decks of US Coast Guard vessels, made to lie in faeces and had their boat burned.
 
However, the Ministry has said there is no record of any complaint by the men since their arrest, including during their deportation last year when they engaged directly with the staff of the Consulate- General in Miami, or on their return to Jamaica. 
 
The Foreign Affairs Ministry says it also regrets that the family of the men did not contact the Ministry when the men went missing.
 
The Ministry said it has started discussions with the US Embassy in Jamaica regarding the procedures being followed by the US Coast Guard to address the regional maritime security challenges.
 


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