The Minister of National Security Gary Griffith has reiterate that the actions taken by Immigration officers at the Piarco International Airport to deny entry to thirteen Jamaicans on September 30, 2014 were fully compliant with Trinidad and Tobago’s Immigration Act and all laws and regulations.
He reminded that entry into Trinidad and Tobago for CARICOM nationals under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and the Declaration of Single Market Readiness is not automatic. He said each visitor must also meet the Immigration requirements to be allowed entry.
CARICOM Nationals can be refused entry into a Member State if it is determined that they fall within two broad categories, namely “an undesirable” or ‘someone who is likely to become a charge on public funds’.
The thirteen Jamaicans who were denied entry were found to be in breach of several regulations. These included providing conflicting information on the reasons for their visit, with their stories not being corroborated by their intended hosts; being hosted by Jamaican nationals in the country with illegal visitor status and having insufficient funds to support the length of their intended stay in the country.
Despite negative media coverage citing unfair treatment of the Jamaican nationals at the hands of Immigration officers, Minister Griffith insisted that the officers’ actions were above board.
Reports indicated that the Jamaican nationals entered the country at 11:30 p.m. and underwent interview checks until 1:00 a.m.
They then had a five hour wait at the Piarco International Airport before their repatriation via a return flight to Jamaica departing at 8:00 a.m.
Minister Griffith claimed that the length of time did not require that the group be put up at a hotel.
Additionally, he said that subsequent to the decision of repatriation, the Jamaican nationals were not under the watch of Immigration officials but strictly under the supervision of the airline, which provided them with food and blankets during their wait for their return flight.