Kingston, Jamaica – The Ministry of National Security says that no protocols were violated in the handling of an incident at the Sangster International Airport on Friday, June 23, when a passenger was refused landing due to a torn passport page .
In a statement on Sunday, the ministry said it was approached with a query regarding an individual who was in Jamaica to attend the funeral of his grandmother and was refused landing due to a torn passport page.
“The minister, having not received any information about any negative behaviour by the traveller, exercised his legally empowered discretion and allowed him landing on humanitarian grounds,” the statement read.
The statement added that contrary to a report that the person was charged with a crime, the police have revealed that although the individual was taken to the police station, he was at no point charged with an offence.
“The official police report states that the traveller was Refused Leave to Land and placed in custody to await being returned to his country of origin on the next available flight,” the ministry said.
At about 10:57 pm, the ministry said, he was released to his family, to allow him to attend his grandmother’s funeral.
“The aforementioned information is documented in the cell diary at the Barnett Street Police Station, and there is no entry at the station to suggest that the individual was charged with any crime or offence,” the statement read.
At the same time, Andrew Wynter, chief executive officer of PICA, confirmed that the Security Minister Dr Horace Chang, was not aware of any adverse behaviour exhibited by the individual when the agency requested an exemption on humanitarian grounds.
Wynter stated, “based on situation and circumstances consideration can be given to facilitate an individual's entry into the island despite their conduct. Senior PICA officials based at the airport made attempts to facilitate him, given the circumstances, and contacted the airline to work out an arrangement that would aid his return without further issues given the condition of his passport. This was done to enable him to attend his grandmother's funeral."
Meanwhile, the Chief Immigration Officer for Jamaica, who is also the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of National Security, Ambassador Alison Stone Roofe, said, "Based on consultations with the agency and a review by the Ministry of National Security, I can affirm that the minister acted within the law as outlined by the Aliens Act. The minister exercised his discretion upon the request of the Passport and Immigration Services. At the time the minister was engaged, he was not informed of any adverse behaviour by the traveller."
Additionally, the ministry said, consultations with Attorney General Derrick McKoy confirmed that the minister possesses an overarching power under Section 17 of the Aliens Act, "The minister may direct that any person or class of persons shall be exempt, either unconditionally or subject to such conditions as the minister may impose, from all or any of the provisions of this Act."