JMA’s suggestion in T’dad row makes senseThursday, April 07, 2016
We understand and empathise with the anger being felt and expressed by many people here over the treatment that some Jamaicans said they received in Trinidad on arrival there in recent weeks.
What we are getting, so far, from the complainants is not so much that they were upset at being denied entry, mostly they had a problem with the way they were treated.
According to them, they were humiliated, mocked, and made to feel like criminals by the authorities.
The Trinidadians, in response, said they denied the Jamaicans entry because they were "deemed likely to become charges on public funds". That, they explained, was in keeping with a provision of Trinidad and Tobago’s Immigration Act.
Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister Senator Kamina Johnson Smith has already engaged her counterpart in Port of Spain on the matter. She has also asked for an improvement in the facilities for holding people entering Trinidad and Tobago.
There is great merit in the suggestion made by the Jamaica Manufacturers’ Association (JMA) this week that the Jamaican Government should take "immediate action by placing in the public domain a comprehensive list of concerns that Trinidad and Tobago should address in relation to immigration and trade between both parties".
This, the JMA added, these "should be accompanied by definitive timelines to swiftly eradicate the underlying biases".
That, we believe, is a more practical response to this recurring problem, compared to the call for a boycott of goods from Trinidad.
The wider issue, though, is the way Jamaicans are viewed by immigration authorities, not only in the Caribbean, but worldwide.
For, had our governments, over the years, ensured that our economy was growing at impressive rates, the chances of any Jamaican being "deemed likely to become charges on public funds" by another country would be minimal, if any.
That is the serious issue that we need to address, even as Kingston and Port of Spain collaborate on attitudinal and cultural changes.
Miss Hanna and PNP internal matters
Politicians are indeed a rare breed.
Not only are they skilled in the art of hypocrisy and double-speak, they continue to amaze us with their penchant for utterances of convenience.
So, for instance, Ms Lisa Hanna, the People’s National Party (PNP) representative for St Ann South Eastern, pens a long letter to Comrades, which she makes public on social media on March 30.
In that homily she berates PNP General Secretary Mr Paul Burke, stating that voters have rejected the leadership style he represents and that he has mismanaged every aspect of his job.
Ms Hanna also takes a couple of jabs at the PNP, saying that it "appears to be a relic of the past with obsolete messages"; that its members have lost courage, as they are afraid to speak; and the internal structures of the party are no longer functional.
However, when journalists covering last Sunday’s meeting of the PNP’s National Executive Council approached Ms Hanna for comments on the deliberations, she gave them this gem: "I don’t discuss internal party matters. At the right time I will address the press."
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