Jamaicans ‘harassed’ within CARICOM
KINGSTON — Edmund Bartlett, the Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, wants the Government to address the “increasing incidence of harassment and demeaning treatment of Jamaicans attempting to visit CARICOM member states, particularly Trinidad and Tobago”.
In a release on Monday, Bartlett called on Senator AJ Nicholson, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to address the recently reported case of 13 Jamaicans being denied entry and left “hungry, cold and made to sleep on hard concrete”.
“This is the latest of a series of similar complaints by our citizens attempting to be landed in these countries about crude, uncivil and embarrassing treatment by our regional partners,” the opposition spokesman said.
“Certainly, if the provisions of the Treaty of Chaguaramas are to be taken seriously, particularly as it relates to freedom of movement, then Minister Nicholson must move to protect our nationals’ rights to travel within CARICOM and to be treated decently and with respect,” he said.
Bartlett also contended that, if Jamaican nationals cannot be accorded respect and dignity, the meaning of regional integration is “hollow and a farce”, and will justify the loud call by many for Jamaica to review its position on the CARICOM.
The minister has had several visits to Trinidad and has met with the Government officials responsible for foreign affairs and immigration matters in relation to these and other issues, but the problem continues, he noted.
He said that Jamaica needs to know whether the minister is unable to persuade its CARICOM partners to protect the safety and travelling rights of its citizens under the treaty, or should the prime minister intervene and make it an agenda item at the next meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government. (Jamaica Observer)