Jamaican officials says T&T airport officials sent home fewer Jamaicans last year

Date: 
Friday, January 13, 2017 - 13:00

Jamaica is reporting a significant decline in the number of its nationals who have been denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago for the period March to December last year.

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said apart from the 64 percent reduction, there have also been fewer complaints of mistreatment from officials in Port of Spain.

“We received feedback from travellers and through enquiries by our Jamaican High Commission in Port of Spain that there is generally an improved experience at immigration,” she said.

Relations between the two Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states had been strained over the decision of Port of Spain last year to deport a number of Jamaicans whom they said would have been a charge on the State for their stay here, having shown no means of sustaining themselves while in the country.

The stance taken by immigration officials prompted several Jamaicans to call for a boycott of products from the oil-rich twin island Republic.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley visited Kingston in July last year to discuss the issue with his Jamaican counterpart, Andrew Holness and, an action plan was drafted outlining cooperation programmes and activities.

Johnson Smith said that the government here is pleased with the measures taken by the Trinidad and Tobago government in solving the immigration issues.

She noted that an area at the Piarco International Airport has been retrofitted to comfortably accommodate persons, including Jamaicans, who are not landed, while they await return to their country of origin. In addition, immigration officials have been trained.

She said that the governments of the two CARICOM countries are working to improve the ability of businesspersons to export to Trinidad, by re-establishing a trade desk within the Jamaican High Commission.

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