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Jamaicans seek redress

By CLINT CHAN TACK Wednesday, December 25 2013

TWO of 12 Jamaican nationals who were denied entry into this country in November have filed a complaint with the Foreign Affairs Ministry in their homeland. This information was contained in a report in yesterday’s online edition of Jamaica’s Observer newspaper.

The report also claimed three of the 12 Jamaican nationals have inquired about the possibility of seeking redress. According to the report, Foreign Affairs Ministry officials said these three persons asked about a refund of their airfare spent on the trip to Trinidad.

The report said the officials indicated that in order to conduct further investigations, the persons who were denied entry needed to submit a signed written personal statement, outlining the details of the incident. Efforts to contact Foreign Affairs Ministry officials yesterday were unsuccessful.

On November 26, Newsday reported that close to 17,000 Jamaican nationals are staying illegally in TT as their entry certificates have expired.

Documents sent to Newsday from the Office of the Chief Immigration Officer Keith Sampson revealed that for this year, as of November 21, 16,958 Jamaicans are staying illegally in this country. According to information from the Ministry of National Security, 81 Jamaicans remain in detention at the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Aripo while to date, for this year, 66 Jamaicans have been repatriated.

The argument that Jamaicans were being denied entry into this country, Griffith said, is patently false given the high numbers admitted over the past four years and the refusal rate being under five percent annually.

Reports from out of Jamaica are that TT Immigration Division refused Jamaica nationals entry into TT, in breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which allows for free movement of Caricom nationals among Caricom Member States.

The claims are being made against the background of 12 Jamaicans being denied entry on November 19.

According to statistics from the National Security Ministry, from 2010 to the present, the Immigration Division report on the number of Jamaicans granted and refused entry noted as being 13,534 (96 percent) Jamaicans were admitted and 594 (or four percent) being refused entry.

In 2010, 10,993 Jamaicans were allowed into TT while 371 were refused (a 3.3 percent refusal rate); in 2011, 13,964 were allowed entry while 597 were denied entry (a 4.1 percent refusal rate); in 2012, 15,871 were admitted while 400 were refused entry (a 2.6 percent refusal rate) and for this year, 13,534 Jamaicans have been allowed into this country as opposed to 594 being denied entry — a 4.2 percent refusal rate.

Documents provided by the Office of the Chief Immigration Officer Keith Sampson revealed that for this year, as of November 21, 16,958 Jamaicans are staying illegally in this country.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran went to Jamaica last month and held talks with Jamaica Foreign Affairs Minister AJ Nicholson on the matter.

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