Jamaica says fewer nationals denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago

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KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 13, CMC –  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 per cent 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 Trinidadi 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.
“We are seeking to establish a model to be replicated in both Port of Spain and Kingston to identify trade issues early for swift resolution, and also working on the implementation of the CSME (CARICOM  Single Market and Economy),” she said.
The CSME allows for the free travel of goods, persons, services and labour across the 15-member CARICOM grouping.
The Forweign Minister said the Ministry has embarked on a public-education campaign to sensitise the Jamaican public on travel within CARICOM.
“We have hosted and will continue to host sessions, which will also cover the rules governing free movement within the CSME, including the rights and obligations of CARICOM nationals,” the minister said.
Additionally, Johnson Smith noted that the Ministry of Foreign Trade will continue to work with the private sector in Jamaica and Trinidad on the various elements of the action plan coming out of the bilateral meeting during Rowley’s visit to Jamaica.

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