Two of the 13 Jamaicans who were denied entry to Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) in November have filed an official complaint with Jamaica's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In addition, three persons who were also part of the group refused entry to the twin-island republic on November 19, have inquired about the possibility of seeking redress.
A Ministry of Foreign Affairs official confirmed that the three have specifically inquired about a refund of their airfare. However, the Jamaicans have not indicated that they will seek private legal representation.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had said that, in order to conduct further investigations, affected persons must submit a signed written personal statement, outlining details of the incident. It reiterated that whenever Jamaicans are detained or refused entry, they should on their return home, immediately lodge a written report with immigration authorities, or the Ministry.
The incident at the Piarco International Airport led to calls in Jamaica for a boycott of Trinidadian products.
CARICOM complaints procedure
In the meantime, the Foreign Affairs Ministry has announced that it is now implementing the agreed CARICOM complaints procedure, which includes liaising with the CSME Unit in Barbados. This concerns follow-up on specific cases.
In addition, following high-level talks between Senator A. J. Nicholson, Jamaica's Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, and his Trinidad counterpart, Winston Dookeran, CARICOM convened a meeting of officials on Free Movement and Facilitation of Travel. The meeting was held from December 11 to 12.
It is understood that the meeting emphasised that the exemptions to the right of entry, identified in the judgment of the Caribbean Court of Justice, in the Shanique Myrie case, should be narrowly interpreted by the state.
The Jamaican Foreign Affairs Ministry noted that the Secretariat has also been instructed to intensify the training and sensitisation of immigration officials across the region, as soon as possible.
It was agreed that Security, Legal and Immigration officials would also meet to formulate recommendations on implementation of the CCJ and related issues.
The recommendations are expected to be presented at the next meeting of the Prime Ministerial Sub-Committee on CSME issues.