Gov’t says no to travel treatment reform at Piarco

Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, travelers, Piarco International Airport
Piarco International Airport in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

No special facilities for Jamaican travelers, says Ministry

The Trinidad and Tobago government has denied suggestions that it is establishing a new facility near the Piarco International Airport to house Jamaican nationals prevented from entering the oil-rich twin island republic.

Last week Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith, informed Parliament of plans to build the facility for Jamaicans. However, Trinidad and Tobago’s  National Security Minister Edmund Dillon, told a Cabinet meeting on Thursday that it was wrong to say that the new facility, expected to be completed in July, would only house Jamaicans.

“As the acting minister of foreign affairs…it is not specifically for Jamaicans,” says Dillon. “It is for anyone who has been debarred entry based on immigration status. “We are treating with them in a particular way, so it is not for Jamaicans and we are putting measures in place to treat with anyone.”

Relations between the two CARICOM countries have been strained over the decision of Port of Spain 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. A former national security minster for Trinidad and Tobago has blamed the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) for the number of Jamaicans arriving in the country, and has urged the government to maintain a tough stance on the immigration issue. The Jamaica foreign affairs minister said that in respect of the discussions regarding the free movement of people, it has already been agreed to refer the matter to the regional leaders when they meet in Guyana in July.

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