Respect laws of other countries, foreign minister tells J’cans

Respect laws of other countries, foreign minister tells J’cans

Thursday, April 20, 2017

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FOREIGN Affairs and Foreign Trade minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith is urging Jamaicans who travel to other countries to respect their laws.

Johnson Smith made the appeal during her quarterly press briefing at the ministry in New Kingston, yesterday.

The minister said even as she reaffirms her Government’s commitment to the promotion and protection of the welfare of Jamaican citizens living, working and travelling abroad, it is important to highlight that nationals must respect the laws of Jamaica and the laws of their countries of destination.

She told journalists that there has been an 82 per cent reduction in the number of Jamaicans denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago from March 2016 to March 2017.

"This is a great success for the team. It has required work between the Government of Jamaica and the Government of Trinidad and Tobago," said Johnson Smith.

Jamaica’s relationship with Trinidad and Tobago hit a low in March last year, with comparatively large numbers of Jamaicans not being landed and complaints of mistreatment by immigration officials.

At the time of that report, the ministry formally launched the first in a series of fliers on the Caribbean Community (Caricom) Single Market and Economy, including fliers on free movement and offering Jamaicans tips on travelling within Caricom.

Yesterday, she said since January, the ministry has received only one formal report of denial of a Jamaican from entering Barbados and added that an investigation into the matter has since commenced. Barbados, like Trinidad and Tobago, has been one of the Cariibean countries where Jamaicans have complained of bad treatment by immigration and customs officers.

"The ministry through our network of overseas missions and consular representatives stand ready at all times to investigate reports of challenges faced by Jamaicans abroad.

"I must, however, remind our nationals that the ministry cannot proceed with investigations on the basis of hearsay. We must receive reports which should be supported by appropriate documentation and all other evidence so that we may be able to proceed and take governmental responsible action in respect of their investigation.

"So we encourage you, where you have issues, to formally report it so that we make take action," the minister said.

Reports can be e-mailed to:

— Kimone Francis

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