The Jamaican Government has announced that through much consultations with it’s Trinidadian counterparts about the vexing issue of the alleged treatment of Jamaicans visiting Trinidad a solution of sorts have been arrived at.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, told the House Wednesday that there will now be a designated area retrofitted to provide dignified and private accommodation for persons required to stay overnight, who are going to be returned to Jamaica.
I really see how this could be a cause celebre consideration the depths to which our country has sunken. Economically , morally, but equally as important in how we are perceived as a people.
If I’m not mistaken I believe the quarrel started between the twin Island Republic and Jamaica over not just the treatment of Jamaicans when they visit that nation but the fact that they are not allowed free access according to the revised treaty-of-Chaguaramas which guarantees citizens free access throughout member states.
Notwithstanding the CARICOM treaty ,member states have a right to say no to citizens from member states who have not satisfied certain criteria , eg being able to support themselves while visiting, the likely-hood they will engage in criminal conduct etc.
Increasingly Jamaicans have come under scrutiny while seeking to take advantage of the freedom to travel throughout the CARICOM region. Jamaican nationals have filed grievances after alleged mal-treatment in Barbados as well as Trinidad and Tobago.
So far Barbados has been forced to pay compensatory damages to one Jamaican in relation to those treatments.
Shanique Myrie was awarded damages in the sum of US$38,000 by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) after she filed a lawsuit claiming she was subjected to a dehumanizing cavity search by a female immigration officer at Grantley Adams International Airport, locked in a filthy room overnight and deported to Jamaica in March 2011.
Myrie alleged that while she was being assaulted ,”I asked her who she was and she said ‘I am your worst nightmare’. She then said ‘All you (expletive) Jamaicans come here to do is either steal people’s man or bring drugs here,” Myrie recounted. Myrie told the Observer that the immigration officer removed her identification tag before committing the act.
“She said I hate these (expletive) Jamaicans,” Myrie said.
Trinidad has claimed that they have a right to turn back Jamaicans whom they believe are going to overstay their welcome or whom they believe will engage in illegal activities . It is incredibly difficult to argue against Trinidad’s assertions when there are approximately over 16,000 Jamaicans in that country who have overstayed their allotted time.
The former minister of national security of Trinidad and Tobago asserted that there was nothing in the CARICOM treaty which supersedes his country’s Constitution. On that basis he argued his country has the right to enforce their laws.
It is difficult to argue with that as well…Whether justifiable or not the perception among CARICOM states is that Jamaicans are people who have a violent disposition and a predisposition to engage in criminal conduct.
I wonder how they arrived at those conclusions?
So as the new Administration pats itself on the back and the former shuffles up to be in the photo-shoot, I remind Jamaicans that nothing has changed as it regards how they will be treated in the twin Island Republic. What they have basically agreed to is to provide toilets and a place to possibly sit while they wait to ship you out on the next available flight…
How the hell did we arrive at this place?