Six J’cans refused boarding on flights in Panama

- Foreign Ministry probing incident

KINGSTON, Jamaica — Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says her ministry is making enquiries into why six Jamaicans were refused boarding on their connecting flights in Panama on Saturday.

Johnson Smith, in a series of tweets on Sunday, said the ministry was advised that the Jamaicans were not being deported, as is being suggested on social media. Rather, they were not allowed to board the flight due to the airlines' refusal.

"The relevant airline was not forthcoming on the reasons for refusal," the minister said.

At that point, she said, the Foreign Ministry's Honorary Consul in Panama tried to assist.

"We were advised that the Jamaicans were not being deported,m(not an immigration issue), but due to the airline's refusal, they were not landed and were required to remain at the airport until the next return flight to JA (today)," Johnson Smith tweeted.

"@mfaftja has also started to make enquiries of the Dutch Gov't as they (the Jamaicans) were next due to travel on KLM to the Netherlands," she added.

Meanwhile, the minister has assured that the Jamaican authorities will make further enquiries of the Panamanian government on the issue, including "the alleged conditions in which the nationals were placed at the airport."

The affected Jamaicans are being encouraged to lodge formal complaints by contacting the Foreign Ministry at consular@mfact.gov.jm.

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