Woman allegedly mistreated by T'dad immigration gets lawyer

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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ATTORNEY-AT-LAW Anthony Hylton is to represent the Jamaican woman who was last week denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago along with her four-month-old son.

Hylton, who spoke to the Jamaica Observer yesterday, said that the manner in which it was reported that the woman and her child were treated before being deported goes against everything that the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas represents.

The treaty established the Caribbean Community (Caricom), which forged a commitment among member states to deepening regional economic integration through the establishment of the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) in order to achieve sustained economic development based on international competitiveness, coordinated economic and foreign policies, functional cooperation, and enhanced trade and economic relations with third states.

Article 7 Subsection 1 of the treaty, which focuses on non-discrimination, notes that any discrimination on grounds of nationality only shall be prohibited. Subsection 2 says the community council shall, after consultation with the competent organs, establish rules to prohibit any such discrimination.

Yesterday Hylton said that the matter is a very serious one that should be addressed.

“The matter is against everything the treaty stands for. This is a relationship that involves a child of a Jamaican and Trinidadian, and an attempt by the mother to have the father know the child. The father was requesting their visit, supporting of the visit, and was trying to build that relationship. The State has no reason and no business to interfere in that relationship,” Hylton said.

He told the Observer that he agreed to represent the woman because he believes his client is “credible”, and that the information she has given to him shows clearly that her rights have been breached.

“Her treaty rights have been breached and that of others, and she deserves to be represented,” he said.

Article 45 of the treaty, which speaks to movement of Caricom nationals, says member states must commit themselves to the goal of free movement of their nationals within the region.

The woman, who is from St Mary, has accused Trinidad immigration of inhumane treatment.

She stated that she was made to feel like a prisoner after being denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago days before the 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom in Montego Bay, St James.

The young mother of two, who operates a clothing store and who asked not to be identified, said she was detained by immigration officers when she arrived at Piarco International Airport in Port of Spain on Caribbean Airlines flight BW458 shortly after 7:00 pm on Saturday, June 30.

The woman also claimed that she, along with her child, was denied food on the night before their deportation to Jamaica.

Part 1 Section 5 (e) of Trinidad and Tobago's Immigration Act says that the child of a person who is a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago must not be denied entry into the country, provided that the child is a minor or is dependent on and living with his parents.

Prime Minister of Jamaica and Caricom Chairman Andrew Holness has said that by August 1, all member states are to have in place procedures on the refusal of entry of Caricom nationals travelling across the region.

The procedures, which will be applied at the border of each country, were adopted by Caricom leaders during the just-concluded 39th Regular Meeting at the Montego Bay Convention Centre, which ran from July 4 to 6.

Noting that the refusal of entry of Caricom nationals “is a matter of great importance to many”, Holness said the procedures will guide border officials on how they should treat nationals who are refused entry.

“This will safeguard the rights of all community nationals moving across the region,” he emphasised.

The Caricom heads also agreed that a harmonised form will be used by the country's immigration when refusing entry.

In the meantime, according to Trinidadian law, nationals who are deemed idiots, imbeciles, feeble-minded, suffering from dementia, insane, likely to be a charge on public funds, afflicted with infectious or dangerous disease, dumb, blind or otherwise physically defective, physically handicapped, have been convicted of or admit having committed any crime, prostitutes, homosexuals or persons living on the earnings of prostitutes or homosexuals, or individuals reasonably suspected as going to Trinidad and Tobago for these or any other immoral purposes, are reasonably suspected of attempting to bring into Trinidad and Tobago or of procuring prostitutes or other individuals for the purpose of prostitution or homosexual or other immoral purposes; habitual beggars or vagrants, chronic alcoholics, addicted to drugs, distributing, selling, offering or exposing for sale, buying, trading or trafficking in drug, are likely to engage in espionage, sabotage or any other subversive activity of any kind directed against Trinidad and Tobago or detrimental to the security of Trinidad and Tobago; cannot or do not fulfil or comply with any of the conditions or requirements of the Immigration Act.

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