Steps taken by the Government to regularize the status of people living in Jamaica illegally is a step in the right direction.
Speaking at a swearing-in ceremony at the Police Officers’ Club in St Andrew for 47 foreign nationals who have been granted Jamaican citizenship, national security minister Robert Montague said “We have many persons who came here illegally. They have lived here, married and have children and grandchildren, and have never sorted out their status. We want to give them an opportunity to (become legal) Jamaican citizens.”
“It is the least we can do for those who have helped to build this economy and nation but, somehow, have never sorted out their documents”.
“Jamaicans have gone elsewhere and benefited from the opportunity to formalize their citizenship. It is now time for Jamaica to offer those on her shores the same opportunity.”
There is not much to disagree with in the sentiments of the Minister. For decades Jamaicans have benefited significantly from the largesse and generosity of host nations which have opened their doors and allowed us in.
As a result of their benevolence, tens of hundreds of thousands of Jamaicans lives, maybe millions, have been positively impacted both at home and in their host countries.
Residually our country has benefitted immensely from the generosity of other countries which have opened their doors to allow us in. The benefit to our country is incalculable with the money sent back to Jamaica for years representing Jamaica’s second largest foreign exchange earner.
Additionally, Jamaica benefits from other nation’s largess through education and skills training, it is only right that given the chance that Jamaica should reciprocate this goodwill wherever possible.
With that said let us hope that the proper protocols are being followed commensurate with the procedures, Jamaicans are subjected to when they move to other countries. This is important particularly as it relates to the fact that those conferred with citizenship arrived in the country illegally according to the Minister’s own admission.
The move to regularize their status is indeed noble, however, to simply regularize their status without any punitive component attached, [monetary or otherwise] is an open invitation for illegal immigrants to flood the country and not necessarily for the right reasons.
Movement of people from country to country is as natural as the air we breathe. Jamaica with its reggae music, white sandy beaches, great food, and drink is a major draw for people around the world, despite our problem with crime.
I urge the authorities to be astute and judicious with the way they handle this process of accepting new people and bestowing citizenship on them.
Let the process be expansive and well thought out, reminiscent of what Jamaican nationals are subjected to when we seek residency in other countries.
The Government owes this to our country and people to ensure that the Immigration process is not an ad-hoc process based on the whim and fancy of a single individual.
In today’s world of Terrorism, narcotics distribution and other transnational crimes, including illegal movement of arms and Kidnappings it is incumbent that Government do due diligence, and emulate best practices from others.
It is undeniable that many Haitians who broached our shores and settled in parts of Clarendon and other parts of the country did not come with our invitation. They did not come with skills we needed which would necessarily be positively impactful to our country.
Despite this, they have been engaged in smuggling massive amounts of guns into our country in collusion with Jamaican criminals.
Jamaican farmers have borne the brunt of this illegal partnership as they lose their livestock to criminals who slaughter them to exchange the carcasses for weapons in Haiti.
Chinese nationals who come to our country have stayed, many who stayed illegally have flooded our markets with counterfeit goods, much of which are not what they purport to be, including food products which are reported to be of suspect quality.
Many Colombians and others from South America who come to Jamaica have ingratiated themselves into the criminal underworld and have contributed much according to sources, to the enhancement of the weapons and cocaine coming into our country.
Jamaican authorities can ill-afford to be bleary-eyed about the way it hands out citizenship. As circumstances change across the globe people of all stripes will be looking for safer places (safer subjective) to live and raise their families.
So too will criminal networks be looking to find weak spots to settle and set up shop to further their criminal enterprises.
Someone has got to be looking out for the safety and security of the Jamaican Nation and people, sad to say I am not sure that the people who are supposed to be guiding the ship of state aren’t asleep at the tiller or worse, even know that they should care about this.
In the penultimate article, I wrote I stated that the person of interest in the arms cache Investigation (a woman) would probably be released without any charges laid against her.
She has been released without charge albeit with a bond we are told.
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