Two-is­land repub­lic prom­ises bet­ter ac­com­mo­da­tion for Ja­maicans at Piarco Air­port

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - By BALFORD Henry – Ja­maica Ob­server

TRINIDAD and Tobago (T&T) is to retro­fit an area of its Piarco In­ter­na­tional Air­port by July, to im­prove ac­com­mo­da­tion for Ja­maicans re­fused en­try into the two-is­land repub­lic.

Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs and For­eign Trade Sen­a­tor Kam­ina John­son Smith made the an­nounce­ment at Gor­don House as the Stand­ing Fi­nance Com­mit­tee (SFC) of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives com­pleted its re­view of the 2016/17 Es­ti­mates of Ex­pen­di­ture.

Sen­a­tor John­son Smith told MPs that she had been in­formed of the de­ci­sion in cor­re­spon­dence re­ceived from T&T’s Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Sen­a­tor David Moses. This fol­lows bi­lat­eral dis­cus­sions dur­ing the United Na­tions Gen­eral Assem­bly Spe­cial Ses­sion (UNGASS) meet­ing just over a week ago.

John­son Smith said that the is­sue of the treat­ment of Ja­maicans who are de­nied en­try was a com­plex one, but that the new de­vel­op­ment was an in­di­ca­tion of the progress be­ing made in their dis­cus­sions.

She said that, in re­spect of the dis­cus­sions re­gard­ing the free move­ment of peo­ple, it has al­ready been agreed to re­fer the mat­ter to the Heads of Cari­com meet­ing in July.

Sen­a­tor John­son Smith said, on the is­sue of the treat­ment of Ja­maican na­tion­als in Trinidad, Sen­a­tor Moses has also com­mit­ted that in June of this year his Gov­ern­ment will com­mence cus­tomer ser­vice train­ing for im­mi­gra­tion of­fi­cials, as well as peo­ple such as se­cu­rity of­fi­cials who must in­ter­act with vis­i­tors who are de­nied en­try.

Re­la­tions be­tween Ja­maica and T&T have been strained for sev­eral years now, due to in­creas­ing com­plaints from Ja­maicans that they have been de­nied en­try to Port-of-Spain, de­spite hav­ing met all qual­i­fi­ca­tions re­quired un­der the re­vised Treaty of Ch­aguara­mas. The treaty stip­u­lates that no Cari­com na­tional should be turned away from an­other Cari­com state un­less the trav­eller is con­sid­ered un­de­sir­able or pos­ing a bur­den on the re­ceiv­ing state.

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