Jamaican deportee willing to surrender

The Ja­maican man who was de­nied en­try at the Pi­ar­co In­ter­na­tion­al Air­port on Fri­day says he did not es­cape cus­tody and claimed he paid US$500 to an Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer to se­cure his free­dom.

The 29-year-old man con­tact­ed with Guardian Me­dia on Sun­day and pro­vid­ed a pho­to of his Caribbean Air­lines board­ing pass from the flight BW415 from Kingston, Ja­maica to Trinidad as proof of his iden­ti­ty, his or­der of de­nial and a pho­to of the room he was be­ing kept in to cor­rob­o­rate his ac­count. The Air­ports Au­thor­i­ty stat­ed the sus­pect es­caped from im­mi­gra­tion and air­line se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cers and left the air­port.

The man said he was stopped by Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers from en­ter­ing the coun­try on Fri­day night but said there was no ba­sis for their re­fusal. He ad­mit­ted that he had been pre­vent­ed from en­ter­ing T&T on three pre­vi­ous oc­ca­sions and de­port­ed to Ja­maica as of­fi­cers claimed he had pend­ing crim­i­nal charges in Ja­maica.

“I do not have any pend­ing, pre­vi­ous or on­go­ing court mat­ters in Ja­maica. I am sim­ply try­ing to come here to be with my chil­dren and my girl­friend who is preg­nant.

“In Ja­maica, when you get re­fused en­try by an­oth­er coun­try, you have to go back through an Im­mi­gra­tion in­ter­view and a po­lice in­ter­view, if I had got caught try­ing to leave the coun­try with pend­ing mat­ters, I would have been ar­rest­ed al­ready in Ja­maica,” he said. While be­ing held in a room await­ing a flight back to Ja­maica, the man says he was vis­it­ed by an Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer.

“He came up to me and asked me how much mon­ey I have on me. You have to de­clare your mon­ey when you come in, so he would have al­ready had an idea of how much mon­ey I had. When I told him, he said he did not un­der­stand why they are re­fus­ing me en­try to the coun­try and if I give him US$500, he would leave the door un­locked for me to leave.”

Asked whether he was not con­cerned about brib­ing an Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer, he re­spond­ed: “I didn’t know it was a bribe. The thing is if it was a bribe, then I would of­fer him the mon­ey to let me out. He asked me for the mon­ey and told me he was feel­ing sor­ry for me and would leave the door open,” he said.

The man was sched­uled to be placed on a flight to Ja­maica on Sat­ur­day but when im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cers went to check for him around 3.30 am, he could not be found.

Sources told the Sun­day Guardian that the men re­moved a ceil­ing tile and crawled through the air ducts to es­cape.

The man said a state­ment by the Air­ports Au­thor­i­ty that he es­caped from the room was com­plete­ly un­true.

“The door to that room needs a swipe pass and a PIN num­ber for the door to open. They have so many cam­eras in there, all they need to do is check the footage and they will see him in­side there talk­ing to me.

 Ob­vi­ous­ly, they are set­ting me up, they took my mon­ey and told the po­lice I es­caped.” To make mat­ters worse, the man said he is phys­i­cal­ly un­able to run out of any­where as he has sev­er­al steel pins in his leg as a re­sult of an ac­ci­dent in Feb­ru­ary 2018 in Ja­maica.

“I can­not run or walk fast or climb over any­thing. I walk with a limp. He was told when the door would be un­locked and what time to leave. I didn’t know it was il­le­gal, I thought he was just help­ing me,” the man claimed.

The man said his rel­a­tives liv­ing in Trinidad be­came alarmed af­ter learn­ing that po­lice were search­ing for him and were un­will­ing to let him vis­it their homes.

He said the Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cer told him if he could come up with an­oth­er US$300 to­day, he would or­gan­ise for him to get back his pass­port, which was be­ing held by im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials.

The man said his next step is to meet with po­lice of­fi­cers of the St Joseph Po­lice Sta­tion.

“I spoke to a po­lice of­fi­cer and I arranged to meet him on Mon­day with a lawyer so I could tell them what re­al­ly hap­pened.”

Asked if he ex­pect­ed to be ar­rest­ed and de­port­ed af­ter his meet­ing with po­lice, he said, “I hope they don’t do that. I have been try­ing to come back to Trinidad on three dif­fer­ent oc­ca­sions and I re­al­ly want to be able to see my chil­dren and be with them.”

In a state­ment on Sat­ur­day, the Air­ports Au­thor­i­ty said the man “elud­ed” Im­mi­gra­tion and air­line se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cials and ex­it­ed the air­port.

“The Au­thor­i­ty here­by con­firms that a Ja­maican na­tion­al, who was re­fused en­try in­to Trinidad and To­ba­go and await­ing a re­turn flight to Ja­maica, elud­ed Im­mi­gra­tion and air­line se­cu­ri­ty of­fi­cials and ex­it­ed the air­port.”

But the au­thor­i­ty said peo­ple who are re­fused en­try by Im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials be­come the re­spon­si­bil­i­ty of the air­line that brought them in­to the coun­try.

Reporter: Sharlene Rampersad

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