Best News & Current Affairs Blog (2011 & 2012) and Jamaican Blogger of the Year (2011) at The Jamaica Blog Awards.

Leave Trinidad Alone!


Trini

A friend of mine recently accused me of being a political conservative. He went on to point out that such a characterization will undoubtedly cause me to find myself on what he described as the “wrong side of history.” The characterization and accompanying condemnation arose as a result of my defence of Trinidad and Tobago in the ongoing drama surrounding the decision of immigration officials in that country to refuse entry to thirteen (13) Jamaican nationals. Apparently defending the right of a sovereign territory, particularly Trinidad and Tobago, in the exercise of its legitimate right to decide who can and cannot enter its borders is an unforgiveable sin, a politically conservative sin and possibly even an unpatriotic sin. Jamaicans in our righteous anger and pride have condemned Trinidad and Tobago in this matter and many have gone as far as calling for the secession of Jamaica from the Caribbean Community, CARICOM. I take strong exception to this, and wish to share my unpopular thoughts on the issue.

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I must first of all express how terribly disappointed I am in my fellow nationals for the irresponsible and sensational manner in which the situation has been dealt with.  I am particularly disappointed in the Jamaica Observer for the inflammatory manner in which it crafted the story on the issue. Many, if not all, of us have no understanding of the facts which led to entry being denied to the thirteen (13) individuals who sought admittance to Trinidad. No matter that fact, we have become caught up in the whirlwind media sensationalization and launched an attack on the Caribbean Community, how dare they disrespect our nationals?! What about free movement?! I agree, what about it? You see, I cannot accept that the architects of the concept of free movement envisioned that it should grant automatic and unrestrained access to a foreign national to any country in the region he/she chooses. That would be lunacy. Let us not forget that CARICOM is not a federal state, you are not entitled to anything outside of Jamaica. Our sense of entitlement is appalling.  You are a foreigner when you land at a port in Trinidad and Tobago. In my opinion, the “CARICOM passport” functions like any other visa. As far as I understand visas, they authorize you to land at the port; admittance has to be a discretionary matter. It simply has to be. I am defending the right of Trinidad to refuse any person it deems ineligible because I reserve the very same right for Jamaica. I am not at all comfortable with the idea that any foreigner, no matter their nationality, should have automatic access to this country’s borders, I contend that is a right reserved only for a citizen of the country. Why would any reasonable person demand such unrestrained access? We are hypocrites too. When CARICOM member Haiti was struck by that devastating earthquake recently, and many Haitians turned up at our borders, desperate for admittance and “free movement”, we demanded the government send them back. Many of us were angry any money was even spent to accommodate them for the period they were here. Is it that free movement only applies when we want it?

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What really troubles me about all this is the nagging feeling that most of us are angry because of our false sense of pride. We have always been a proud and, as one of my colleagues pointed out, reactive people. Trinidad’s exercise of its sovereign authority hurt that pride and so we are now reacting. If we are honest with ourselves, we have always harboured the unhealthy sentiment that Jamaica is the best of the Caribbean, a capital of sorts, and therefore we have behaved accordingly entitled.  That is the source of our pride. Many of us are incredulous because we deem Trinidad a “spec in the sea” and “two likkle fi even be a country”, an “insignificant” country should never seek to disrespect Jamaica, right? We took the same stance on Mugabe’s comments on Jamaica. Meanwhile, the United States rejects us in droves every single day and we sit pretty smiling at that, with little more than a peep. In our quest to satisfy our wounded pride, we have gone as far as accusing Trinidad of “badminding” Jamaica for our achievements. I admit myself baffled at that argument, because we have such precious little to ‘badmind’. We are on auto pilot, veering on the edge of a political, economic and social abyss, who would ‘badmind’ that? Pride aside, how about we accept the fact that statistics are not in our favour? Most countries have instituted visa requirements against us because we do not have a good track record for international conduct and behaviour. We have to accept that; the bad mek it worse for the good. It is unfortunate, but true. Let us put our pride aside and accept the realities.

Finally, the calls for Jamaica to secede from CARICOM are misguided at best and stupid at worse. I usually place great store on history and that history tells me such a move would be disastrous. Jamaica was incapable of standing alone in 1961, and we are woefully incapable of doing so in 2013. The secessionists argue that Jamaica has not benefitted from our involvement with the Caribbean Community. What of the University of the West Indies? What of the Caribbean Examinations Council? What of the collaboration between member states on important issues and initiatives ranging from climate change to public health? And what of the Caribbean Court of Justice? We have shunned its appellate jurisdiction but it was still able to dispense justice on behalf of one of our own. These things have to count for something, we must count them as benefits. I concede that there have been serious issues relating to trade, for example. As a result, I cannot in good conscience argue with those who wish to voice their displeasure at unfair trade practices by boycotting Trinidadian goods, that would be an individual choice. However, the answer cannot be that we just jump ship as a country, we tried that before and we paid a terrible price. Instead, let us be clear on the issues and put in place the appropriate mechanisms to resolve the concerns and enforce the relevant decisions and resolutions. We need to demand more from our government, send a clear signal that we expect more advocacy on our behalf. The simple truth is that we are stronger when we stand together than when we stand divided. Let us not be so proud that we repeat our mistakes.

Pride goeth before destruction; our haughty spirits may just go before our fall.

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70 responses

  1. I could not have said this any better. Absolutely perfect! Please allow me to buy you a Carib for this post. Or any Trinidadian product of your choice!

    November 25, 2013 at 7:37 pm

    • LOL, thanks a lot Klieon. It’s appreciated.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:08 am

  2. Short Pants

    Even more brilliant as it is apparently written by a Jamaican….in the midst of all the furore engulfing the actors in various Caribbean places. It does take courage to speak openly and honestly these days. The writer must be thanked.

    November 26, 2013 at 8:06 am

    • I appreciate the positive feedback. I just call it as I see it.

      November 26, 2013 at 8:09 am

  3. L

    Wonderfully written with clear logic…someone needs to bring it to the attention of de boycotters….

    November 26, 2013 at 9:09 am

    • Hahaha. I’m sure they have ignored it. Thanks for the kind words.

      November 26, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  4. My brethren ,Jamaican music is played more than the music of Trinidad and Tobago in Trinidad ,does not that count for something,your artistes are invited to perform during our Independence celebrations ,does that not count for something, our young men love Jamaican accent more than their own and the lists goes on.It behoves me to understand why all this pettyness between two caribbean Countries whose people suffer the same problems from super power nations and we never talk about boycott and the likes.As you rightly said if someone does not have the requirements to enter a sovereign nation, why should they be allowed.It happens to all of us wherever we ,go ,Canada , America ,France what have you .Its time that people recognise that no one is bigger than the rules, respect due everytime.

    November 26, 2013 at 9:18 am

    • Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it.

      November 26, 2013 at 9:38 pm

  5. Haydn Dunn

    Thank You.. great post.. Sending love to all my Jamaican friends from Trinidad.. Its a “One Love”

    November 26, 2013 at 9:24 am

    • lol, thanks a lot. The love is well received, certainly on my part.

      November 26, 2013 at 9:37 pm

  6. Thanks for a balanced article. We are a little perturbed at the amount of stick we get from Jamaica. Particularly since Trinis are, in general, very fond of all things Jamaican.

    November 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

  7. W.I Federation

    1 from 10 = Zero.Whenever i hear this it still bring tears to my eyes , the caribbean as a Federation.This was one of the biggest mistake Jamaica made in history if our so call heads of state did not learn from it then we are doom a country

    November 26, 2013 at 9:55 am

    • I absolutely agree. I fear those lobbying for this have too quickly forgotten the price we have paid for our past folly.

      November 26, 2013 at 9:36 pm

  8. Makeda George

    Brilliant article. A rational thinker and an obviously brilliant writer. You refuse to be caught up in the hype and instead wrote a masterpiece. I applaud you sir and will be posting this piece on all social networks.

    November 26, 2013 at 11:54 am

    • Thank you so much for the kind words. I am humbled.

      November 26, 2013 at 9:34 pm

  9. toyna

    I hope more people think like u, no matter which Island we belong to

    November 26, 2013 at 12:16 pm

  10. Nadira

    Thank you for writing this. I realized one thing from reading your article, we Trinbagoians and Jamaicans have something in common, we are both very proud people. I think that is why there is this reaction on the Jamaican side. You hit the nail on the head. This hurt their pride, as it would have hurt our ( Trinbagoins) pride. The thing is though Trinbagoians are certainly not being “badmind” or envious of Jamaicans, I don’t mean to be indelicate, but a lot of Trinbagoians simply don’t feel that way about..well.. any island in the Caribbean….I as a Trini and most of the Trinbaoians I know feel some sense of pride for what We have give to the Caribbean…. You can tell just by what I have just expressed to you here that I am as bad as my Jamaican counterparts when it comes to pride in myself and my country and to be quite blunt we don’t have ANY badmind for Jamaicans or Jamaica. I still love my Jamaican brother and sisters and hope that we can resolve this quickly.

    Thank you writing this article. 🙂

    November 26, 2013 at 1:28 pm

  11. Nigel Clement

    Your candidness and objectivity of thought is greatly appreciated. Has anyone made any comparison between the number of Jamaicans who have been admitted as opposed to those who have been turned away?

    November 26, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    • Thanks for the encouragement. I’m not aware that any such comparison has been done.

      November 26, 2013 at 9:35 pm

      • Geoquip

        Great stuff bro,after reading that it doesn’t matter if you from Jamaica or T&T.To enlighten you with some numbers as the other poster Nigel enquired. 96% of all Jamaican that enter Trinidad are let in,from 2010-2013 54,362 Jamaicans were admitted to Trinidad. In that same period, 1,962 were denied entry for various reasons.

        Also,there are approximately 17,000 illegal Jamaicans living in T&T,plus many thousands more legally. Trinidad is very tolerant to Jamaicans and embrace them. To be honest I love running to my Yardy brothers here,I always engage them in conversation and share pleasantries and culture info,and I can tell you,they work damn hard here,many get caught up in crime etc,but which nationality doesn’t?

        So the bottom line here is sensationalism by some people who chose to make this a national/international issue.

        Peace and love to my Caribbean people.BLESS UP!!

        November 26, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      • Thanks a lot for the stats!! Adds real value to the discussion.

        November 27, 2013 at 7:27 am

  12. Paul Prudent

    WOWOWOWOW I am imnpressed with your thought process and construction of your words. Not many people think out of the box and many think emotionally. I most certainly share your thoughts as one proud trini who loves jamaica, have close friends both here in Trinidad and in Jamaica and where I shall be spending my very first christmas in the 47 years I have been on this earth away from Trinidad and in Jamaica. But as you said right is right.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:44 pm

  13. Happy to see we still have level headed Jamaicans. More could be said, but this was presented well.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:52 pm

  14. NMAB

    THANK YOU!!!! As a Jamaican living in T&T, I have been really upset by the ignorant hateful statements coming our of Jamaica not even realizing the negative implications this has for Jamaica and Jamaican citizens in Trinidad and Tobago. Why is it that views like this are not published in the mainstream media? It’s the sensational emotional hate-inciting pieces that make the front page news.

    November 26, 2013 at 1:59 pm

  15. TEAM TELL TRUTH

    An interesting article but based in my view on a faulty premise. No one in the furore to my mind is saying we are entitled to unrestricted access to another mans country. What we are saying is that times have changed and with globalisation access to other borders are even now more important, as such the arbitrary manner in which immigration used to be dealt with cannot continue. This was made even more obvious in light of the Shanique Myrie incident. Trinidads actions have sparked greater outrage because now there is no excuse, the judgement clearly outlines what I consider an equitable and dignified process of acceptance and rejection of nationals who are deemed eligible, there is a process and a procedure that was put forward (para 83 of judgement as per my recollection). The call for the pull out of Caricom is not based on this incident but on a cummulative review of our treatment in Caribbean, we are of the view that Jamaica has been operating almost to the letter of what CARICOM is about and there has been little or no reciprocity from our neighbours. To put that on this incident would be unfair. The sentiments being exposed run deeper and exists on both sides and until we no longer feel ashamed or be made to feel ashamed at exposing our biases and prejudices etc, we cannot grow. Until we realise that there is a mutual feeling of disgust, mistrust etc of each other and not continue to sweep it under the rug and be bashed for being debase, we will never move forward. I think our policy makers and ourselves can learn from the sentiments being exposed be they vile or educated. They both give a truer picture of our reality, now that we know that there is a chasm between us all, how do we get to this “CARICOM” as the ultimate end. What are the things we need to do collectively and separately to bridge the divide.

    November 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    • regardless of globalization there are rules and requirements one needs to meet before entering a foreign country..if those requirements are not met..then guess what?..you would and rightly so be denied entry…regardless of how “important” it is for whoever to come..esp if they lied to immigration officers and dont have proper documents..national security is still a priority..globalization would never change that….sovereignty is still the order of the day in the case of immigration..which is only fair..globalization dictates that more people are traveling however immigration laws still exist and it is up to the country to decide its own laws on that…that’s where sovereignty comes into play..we as a country still have control over who comes into our country..globalization cannot be allowed to get out of control…immigration rules exist to curb the negative impacts globalization can have

      November 26, 2013 at 11:43 pm

      • I couldn’t have said it better myself. Thanks for the feedback!

        November 27, 2013 at 7:25 am

    • Kadian

      And that, Team Tell Truth, is the truth.
      We don’t need an eloquent justification of why TT was right, and how JA pride is wounded.
      We’re not idiots; we feel undone. If this incident operates as ‘the last straw’ for most of us, our decision to act in a broad-based way now should not be vilified or ridiculed.
      The fact is, rational or not, we sense that something is wrong.
      Let’s get on with doing something to right it.

      *cue Heads of State*

      November 27, 2013 at 7:21 am

  16. Neel

    Would love to know the reason for them not being admitted..thats the single most determinant of whether it was just or unjust.

    November 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm

    • Geoquip

      See here.

      November 28, 2013 at 9:50 pm

  17. Nika

    As a Trinidadian with a lot of Jamaican friends I tried not to publicly comment because the majority of my friends felt exactly as you described…..I’m glad to see a person who has really reasoned this thing out thank you so much

    November 26, 2013 at 4:44 pm

  18. Courtenay Leacock

    Nothwithstanding all that has been said, I welcome the balanced articulation of the writer’s comments. I agree that every nation has a right to decide who can and cannot enter its country or cross its borders. This I say in spite of the turn globalization has taken within the last few years. Free movement without a measure of control is unthinkable as the doors will be open to all kinds of undesirables. We are not all angels.
    I wonder if all who are ready to castrate Trinidad for the action its Immigration has taken have access to the reasons why the Jamaicans were denied access. But we are in an era when all governmental actions are greeted with some form of protest and as many of us as there are, so many will have opposing views.
    To my Jamaicans friends and their countrymen, I say, one love; respect.

    November 26, 2013 at 4:48 pm

  19. CWilliams

    Exactly! All I have heard so far is that one or more persons said that they were in the country to work, and had no documentation to support this. When the alleged employer was called, he/she did not turn up because they were staying in the country illegally. I would like to believe that there will be a report from official channels. I hope the Jamaica Observer will publish that too!

    November 26, 2013 at 5:35 pm

  20. Pingback: Cross-Border Politics: Why TnT may have blanked 13 Jamaicans… | Active Voice

  21. good job btw! its entirely refreshing to see a post from a Jamaican thinking logically and seeing “the light: lol so to speak..because everything comment on this issue from Jamaicans have just been extremely emotional.just insults and foolish suggestions.. sorry but that’s what it was…when as a Caribbean we stand sooo much stronger together,,than apart

    November 26, 2013 at 11:48 pm

  22. kami

    https://twitter.com/ASAP_JV/status/405419385407291392

    Pressure has been put on Trinidadian Authorities to reveal the reasons for not allowing 13 Jamaican citizens in. It just so happens that many in Trinidad are divided about this incident. The twitter link shows the caption of yesterday’s Trinidad Newsday. I would like to underscore the fact that the phrase “attempt to contact host failed” is code for a number of things such as numbers not in service, wrong number and the phrase “conflicting information from subject and host” is actually a substitue for outright denial of host either of knowing the person, knowing that the person was arriving or knowing that they were supposed to be hosting this person during the declared length of their stay in part or in whole.

    I really do think that their needs to be a more profound discussion around this issue of free movement in the Caribbean. This is a good opportunity to get the ball rolling on this conversation and it should not be wasted.

    As a Trinidadian I must say that I am very disappointed in the way in which the incident has been portrayed in both countries. I think that discussions that I have been hearing on Talk radio in Trinidad has been as bad as what I have been reading in the Gleaner and the Jamaica Observer. Journalists have been very irresponsible in their handling of the story and instead of addressing facts have decided to make this issue into the latest episode of Scandal.

    I really am glad to have read your article. Let’s hope that the powers that be take note and decide to make a sensible move in the right direction.

    November 27, 2013 at 5:53 am

    • All we can do is hope that good sense does in fact prevail. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, much appreciated.

      November 27, 2013 at 7:27 am

  23. Quel

    I totally agree mr. editor. Well said. We Jamaicans think that we’re big and bad and anything we say must go; little do we know that we’re this close to being cut out of the Caribbean loop.

    November 27, 2013 at 6:15 am

    • It really is a dangerous risk, thanks for your thoughts!

      November 27, 2013 at 7:26 am

  24. Sovereign rights aside, if we are truly interested in creating a new script that engenders the spirit of one Caribbean, we will have to look beyond the scalding rhetoric that drives divisiveness and explore the common interests. The world is not waiting on us to fix our squabbles.

    November 27, 2013 at 7:43 am

  25. Nikki

    Brilliant piece. Unfortunately, the media has played a very negative and irresponsible role in this entire debacle. Your writing is brings a level of clarity and objectivity to the matter that is refreshing and welcomed.

    November 27, 2013 at 8:10 am

  26. Michelle

    The logic in this article doesn’t wash and sound like one of those people who has nothing void to say about Jamaica. Between sports, entertainment, and our many brilliant people yard and abroad who once they get the opportunity, do well, not to mention the endless popularity of and fascination with Jamaican culture (reggae runs the road in Trinidad as carnival done!), what is the author TALKING about “what do we have to badmind”…how self-hating. Next thing, the cry to send Haitians back was not to send Haitian VISITORS back, it was to send back welfare dependents of the state because as the article noted our finances as a country are in shambles, so our common people rightly deduced err can’t even afford to help our own, where the money coming from to help them? Plus they were in certain quiet country towns reportedly banging their traditional drums or whatever all hours of night and disturbing residents, from one account I read in an article. So the lack of humble consideration on top of the money getting as “guests in our home” was rubbing poor people the wrong way. The 13 Jamaican were not moving in, have not been reported as wanted criminals nor ad failing a drug search, AND yes free movement treaty dies include more than the ability to land, the ability to land anywhere was always there, and once people have visas to the US they are let in! So that is yet another bit of logic that escapes the author! Not to mention we DO complain and get cross about visa APPLICATIONS being denied especially when it’s a normal law-abiding simple person being denied meanwhile nuff tegereg bandulu dem way in and they don’t catch half those. There have been songs made about or at least mentioning visa denials…so saying we happy to get rejected by the US is a lie. I am not not boycotting Trinidad despite being with the majority of Jamaicans on this one…because no human rights were abused. Barbados threw one of ours with legal travel documents in a hole because he wouldn’t accept false papers that would salt him up forever if trying to visit his girl’s people there ever again, and had his poor child in Canada wondering if his father was DEAD because the man was not heard from for the two years he spent in prison with NO contact, NO hearing, NO trial date, NO nothing. Them I am boycotting on a business and vacation spending money level. Because that was barbaric and evil. To the others I would just say unless you’re going for Trinidad carnival, just take that country off your travel plans, and the little girl father need to go Jamaica and see her. We do not do this to people as a country, money or no money. Yes we are proud, money is the country’s core problem, our land is quite attractive to many entrepreneurs the problem is the money not flowing into enough Jamaican employment through allowing then into JA. Lax parenting also stems from this money issue and the loss of morals due to LOVE of money one does not have. Author speaks like not being a rich country means we must hang our heads in shame an juss tek kick-up. Times Are Hard But The Land Is Green And The Sun Shineth… Take a look at the flag and grow some pride of your own, author!

    November 27, 2013 at 8:16 am

    • I expected the condescension about self hate. That is simply your wounded pride. The Haitians were facing a humanitarian crisis, what better reason do we need to allow for the lofty concept we have of free movement to come into effect?

      November 27, 2013 at 11:53 am

  27. Cj

    as a Trinbagonian, i always found it strange that Jamaica has pioneered so many food and drink products, and the only time i saw them was when i came there to study. As you said, look at the ISSUES, is it possible that trade agreements can be re-negotiated so that Jamaican made products can be traded for oil, gas etc. As a nation, you do have so much to offer…..

    November 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

  28. Kenal-99

    Your article, though very well written, suffers from a major factual and logical flaw. Take this line of argument for instance

    “Let us not forget that CARICOM is not a federal state, you are not entitled to anything outside of Jamaica. Our sense of entitlement is appalling. You are a foreigner when you land at a port in Trinidad and Tobago. In my opinion, the “CARICOM passport” functions like any other visa. As far as I understand visas, they authorize you to land at the port; admittance has to be a discretionary matter. It simply has to be.”

    Where to begin? CARICOM is indeed not a federal state but so what? This fact does not mean that a CARICOM national is not entitled to anything outside of their own country of citizenship. The Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) and the 2007 Conference decision confers a definite right on CARICOM nationals to travel to and remain in other CARICOM countries for up to six months. This may seem disturbing to you but it is nonetheless what the states who signed the RTC and then made the decision in 2007 agreed to in exercise of their sovereign powers. You should also know that saying something is within the remit of the sovereign powers of a state does not make it immune from review under international law, especially when that state has ratified a treaty requiring it to do certain specific things. It is a trite and basic principle of international law that a state cannot plead its domestic law or policies as a defence for violating or failing to carry out its international obligations. So no, in terms of CARICOM nationals, entry to Trinidad and Tobago is not a purely discretionary matter for that state alone to decide.

    In the Myrie case the CCJ made the point that (in response to Barbados’ argument that its immigration authorities retained the power to deny entry to CARICOM nationals for a number of reasons) under the RTC and the 2007 Conference decision member states can only deny entry to nationals of other member states where it can be shown that the visitor will be a charge on the public purse or is undesirable. The Court went on to clearly outline what is meant the term “undesirable” so that there is no ambiguity as to what states are allowed to do under the RTC. To quote from the executive summary of the case:

    “The Court held that in order for a Member State to limit the right of entry of a national of another Member State in the interests of public morals, national security and safety, and national health, the visiting national must present a genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society.The threat posed should, at the very least, be one to do something prohibited by national law.The national must pose a threat to do something prohibited by national law.”

    What the Court said in unequivocal terms is that the words of the RTC and the 2007 decision mean exactly what they imply which is that CARICOM nationals have a right (an entitlement if you prefer) to enter into and remain in member states for up to six months, unimpeded and without harassment. That further since entry is a definite right it can only be abridged in very specific and limited circumstances. In other words the Court set the denial bar very high. Essentially if visitor has enough money to support themselves and you can’t prove that they are going to commit a crime or spread some horribly infectious disease, their right to enter and remain in Trinidad or any other CARICOM nation for up to six months cannot be legitimately abridged. It follows from this that the CARICOM passport is not in any way akin to a visa. You do not need a visa to enter into a place where you have a right to enter.

    Let me be absolutely clear, I think CARICOM is useful and is worth pursuing but there must come a time when we ask ourselves some hard questions. Can this thing really work as planned and designed? If states like Trinidad and Barbados are unwilling to implement the free movement requirement for nationals of certain CARICOM states, then I would say that things as currently designed cannot work. If there is this massive trade imbalance between Trinidad and Jamaica partly due to conditions in Jamaica but partly due to policies adopted by Trinidad which are on their face in clear violation of community rules on trade and competition (and yes the RTC does have extensive rules about trade and competition in CARICOM), it is reasonable for Jamaica to ask itself if continuing with the CARICOM arrangement is feasible. Might it not be better for Jamaica to withdraw from CARICOM and then with its new found freedom place restrictions on trade with Trinidad and then the two countries can negotiate to solve their differences? If as you suggest, CARICOM confers no “entitlements” (I find that this is a word many conservatives like to use to describe rights that they believe people ought to not have or things people get that they ought not to get) then there is no need for the whole bureaucracy that has been set up to run CARICOM. If the RTC has no impact on the exercise of sovereign power such that entry remains an entirely discretionary matter, then why do we need the RTC and a Conference decision (a now a CCJ ruling) that clearly say otherwise? We don’t need CARICOM to have UWI and in fact UWI actually predates CARICOM, its ancestor CARIFTA and the ill fated Federation. I don’t see why need CARICOM to have CXC either, I am not entirely sure that we absolutely need CXC but I digress. We certainly can continue to cooperate on matters of climate change and disaster relief without CARICOM; we do this thing all the time with non-CARICOM states. The CARICOM project is clearly something much more than this collection of things.

    Either we are serious about this business of CARICOM or we are not; there is no in between. I say if member states can’t bring themselves to even implement the free movement requirement in a post Myrie world, we should just scrap the whole regional project for it would clearly be an unnecessary waste of time and money.

    November 27, 2013 at 10:31 am

    • Keith Noel

      Read some of your post and decided to reply at once.
      I am a ‘born Trinbagonian’ Jamaican living in Jamaica and have been given anxious moments on occasion when returning home to Jamaica because I had forgotten to carry documents needed for my easy re-entry. At no point did I feel upset as I believed the officials were within their rights.
      So I welcomed the recent clarification on relationships and immigration restrictions by the CCJ as I felt they were long overdue. However, I do not believe that the implications of these rulings have become a part of immigration policy in the islands. The incident should help to hasten this as the relevant government officials deal with it.
      Otherwise the turning away of the Jamaicans is a storm in a teacup. it has been sensationalised by certain elements in the media that are becoming known for this tendency. It is something that should not have happened and attention was brought to it and it will be rectified. (Incidentally, a couple of the persons may still have cause to be rejected!),
      I ‘feel it’ about the immigration problem and the pressure Jamaicans are put under because of the reputation our citizens have. I recently arranged for a team representing Jamaica at a national sport to travel to the Cayman Islands for a regional championship and found that our members and officials were required to have expensive visas and to obtain copies of their police records in order to gain entry. (happily tournament officials in Cayman appealed on our behalf and the need for costly police records was waved) No other Caribbean team had to undergo this!
      But I see this all as a process and expect that things will be worked out (slowly as happens with all bureaucracies in our region!)

      What I find most disturbing in your post is the suggestion that withdrawing from Caricom should be a serious consideration. I accept that it seems as if T&T is breaking some of the rules. Is this not a matter for the legal minds in our gov’t. to address? Can it not be rectified? Is this not in the purview of the CCJ?
      Or are we to treat Caricom like a movie-star marriage, where we pose for the press and then rush to the divorce court as soon as one partner displeases the other?

      However to the main point. It seems as if you are an anti-‘federalist’ cloaking your argument in legal-sounding terms and logical-seeming phrases. I say this because of expressions like :
      “” I say if member states can’t bring themselves to even implement the free movement requirement in a post Myrie world, we should just scrap the whole regional project for it would clearly be an unnecessary waste of time and money.””

      A post-Myrie world? When did this begin? Are you speaking about the case a couple months ago? Did you honestly expect that governments in the Caribbean would see the implications of the ruling as so crucial that they would drop some other issues to make sure that they put in place the proper legislation, change immigration procedures and train immigration officials properly by November? Where do you live?

      But worse, you say:
      “”I am not entirely sure that we absolutely need CXC”
      I have concluded that you are an intelligent and well-educated person. No one who fits this description says something like this unless they have a specific ‘anti Caribbean integration’ axe to grind.

      So me dun talk!

      December 31, 2013 at 1:41 pm

  29. Brilliant, love you argument and delivery and hope that this will soon blow over and stop the further eroding the limited freedoms that presently exist across our region, I just seen the reason for non-entry to T&T and being a trini myself, I cannot find fault for the reasons for refusing for entry. If there not sufficient evidence to support your entry how can you expect to land officially. Lovely article thank you for allowing us your very brill opinion.

    November 27, 2013 at 1:12 pm

  30. KJ

    I must applaud the analysis of the situation here, as I think it has some valuable insight not only for this situation but for the entire CARICOM region. There is a perception that Trinidad and Tobago is blocking access from Jamaicans for no good reason which is simply not true. The vast majority of Jamaicans who visit our shores do so without impediment. Not only do Jamaicans visit here but there are also many Jamaicans working here legally. However there are many who come here illegally as well. Earlier this year a security agency was shut down for employing almost exclusively illegal Jamaicans i.e. they had no CSME certificates nor did they state that they came here to work. Since the furore ignited, the Immigration Division has released statistics which show that 96% of all Jamaicans travelling to Trinidad and Tobago are allowed entry. They have also released the names and the reasons why the 12 were not allowed to enter ranging from no funds and no host to false information. Am I to understand that those are invalid reasons to deny entry? I am uncertain where Jamaicans are getting the idea that we do not want them in Trinidad but it is certainly not supported by fact. With regard to the other issues, there are mechanisms for dealing with them like the CCJ. Emotional outbursts and reactionary politics will do nothing to advance our region and we all as Caribbean people (whether it is Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados etc) need to learn to deal with our challenges intelligently. The experience of other states has shown that blocs are essential so it makes no sense to propose dismantling CARICOM. I have had a very good relationship with Jamaica and Jamaicans and had a wonderful time when I lived there and I look forward to seeing it improved in the future.

    November 27, 2013 at 8:19 pm

    • Thank you so much for your sober analysis and insight on the issue. It is much appreciated.

      November 27, 2013 at 8:45 pm

    • Kenal-99

      “They have also released the names and the reasons why the 12 were not allowed to enter ranging from no funds and no host to false information. Am I to understand that those are invalid reasons to deny entry?” Well yes, some of them are invalid reasons.

      The CCJ has clarified very nicely for us what the right to free movement as outlined in the RTC and 2007 Conference decision means. At the risk of repeating myself; the RTC and the 2007 Conference decision confers a right of definite entry and stay for up to six months in member states for nationals of other member states. This right of definite entry can only be abridged for one of two reasons; that the visitor is going to be a charge on the public purse and that the person is an undesirable. The CCJ defined what is meant by undesirable in very clear terms. For a visitor to be turned away for being an undesirable, the authorities have to essentially show that the visitor is coming to commit a crime or spread some infectious disease or coming to cause some disruption to society. At the risk of repeating myself, the CCJ set the denial bar very high!! Not only that the CCJ ruled that because entry is a right conferred on CARICOM nationals by the RTC, certain procedural steps must be followed when denying entry. The visitor must be given an opportunity to speak to counsel, a family member (if available) and a consular officer.

      The Myrie judgment as I have outlined above, represents the law in CARICOM at the moment. Measured against the law as stated in the Myrie judgment at least some of the people were turned away illegally. Keeping in mind that visitors can only be refused for not being able to support themselves or for being an undesirable; only those on the list refused for not having enough funds appear to be above board. Once you have enough for your stay and they can’t prove that you are commit a crime you must be allowed passage. So all this stuff about no hosts, and contacting hosts and false information are extraneous matters and in light of the Myrie judgment cannot, by themselves, provide a legal reason to deny entry. The really funny thing about this false information and no hosts business reason is that Barbados also claimed that Shanique Myrie gave them false information and she didn’t have a host and this was one of the reasons they denied her entry. The CCJ slapped this down by arguing that even they believed Shanique had given false information and had no host, this by itself was not sufficient to deny her entry.

      I agree with you that we need to learn to deal with our challenges intelligibly; I would suggest that a part of that process must involve getting the facts straight before we comment. I am not trying to be rude but I do find it a little disturbing that this whole discussion was taking place here without due regard to the law which actually governs the issue of entry and free movement. We may feel justified in our opinion but that opinion should be tested against the facts before we boldly declare it in public. The fact is that entry and stay is a right conferred under the RTC and not a privilege; as long as countries like Trinidad and Barbados refuse to accept that this is what they agreed to and act accordingly, we might as well abandon CARICOM.

      November 28, 2013 at 8:08 am

      • Geoquip

        See here.

        November 28, 2013 at 10:30 pm

      • Geoquip

        I think your general understanding of some of the features of the treaty is somewhat correct,but all the things you have outlined as reasons for refusal of entry are possible ultimate outcomes ,the negative socio/ economical implications(benefits,no tax),the possible life of crime(no job/money). Some of those people forfeited their rights with their inconsistent stories and apparent deceitful intent,are they to wait for a situation to develop and say they shoulda?

        T&T is going into a serious direction and has a serious plan and outlook,feathers would get ruffled along the way.

        It’s an unfortunate situation,and I feel the pain of my brothers and sisters who were turned back after much trip preparation and expense ,but the job of the border defender is never easy,just like police work.

        You also gotta wonder why would a child be out of school in the middle of the critical second term? In Trinidad the authorities don’t tolerate school absenteeism,and offending parents can actually be arrested .

        So I think culture played a major role in profiling these travellers,I am almost certain that the red flag was raised by that child.

        Oh check this vid about T&T,managing all this is the difference between a fast runaway train and a well maintained sophisticated high speed train. Some would be left behind.

        Regards.

        November 28, 2013 at 11:03 pm

  31. Tanya Lee

    I have been saying this ALL. Thanks!

    November 27, 2013 at 10:04 pm

  32. Reason on the facts not opinions

    The author seems to be without the ability to reason based on the facts. Numerous posts citing the changing landscape that has been carved out by the Revised Treaty of Chaguramas and the Myrie judgement have gone unanswered, but responses of sober reason etc to similar baseless reasoning. Just another soapbox useless commentary.

    November 28, 2013 at 3:41 pm

    • I still thank you for having taken the time to read and comment. It is much appreciated 🙂 Do, come again. 🙂

      November 28, 2013 at 4:24 pm

  33. kingpatch

    Poignant article Mr. Editor. Objectivity is a figment of the imagination but I find this article to be as objective as anyone could get, and your being Jamaican adds to that notion. Fundamentally, as you so beautifully discussed, its a matter of pride, our pride as a country. Well done Mr. Editor, well done.

    December 1, 2013 at 5:44 am

    • Kenal-99

      “Objectivity is a figment….” Really?! I don’t see how the fact of the author being Jamaican somehow bolsters his objectivity on the issue, except that he is a Jamaican who has written something that appears to support Trinidad’s position in this matter. But writing something which is counter-intuitive is not the definition of objectivity. Objectivity involves ascertaining all the facts of a situation and then treating with those facts fairly while taking care to avoid bias impacting on one’s assessment. By this standard there is nothing objective about this article because the author either refuses to treat with critical facts or gets them wrong altogether.

      At risk of repeating myself once more, the author is completely wrong on the issue of entry; it is not a privilege but a definite right granted under the RTC. In short entry is an entitlement!! The inaccuracy of the piece is even more embarrassing given that the CCJ only about 2 months ago handed down its judgment in the Myrie case which comprehensively outlined what the right of entry for CARICOM nationals entails. If the author is a non-lawyer and doesn’t care to read through the whole judgment, the Court has helpfully prepared a short executive summary summarizing the key findings. The executive summary is easy to read and is available on the CCJ website along with the full judgment. In other words, there is absolutely no excuse in my estimation for the author to have been so woefully uninformed about the nature of freedom movement, including the right of entry, in CARICOM.

      I will continue to post about the facts until the author actually decides to fairly treat with these facts. Say something in response Mr. Editor, if even only to say that you dispute the facts re the RTC, free movement and entry, are not as I have outlined.

      December 3, 2013 at 9:27 am

      • I have conceded the fact that the CCJ may have interpreted the RTC to allow for unrestrained access. That is not at issue here. I am well aware of that. My position is that the Court was wrong, in my opinion. I do not accept that the framers of free movement envisioned what the Court outlined or interpreted. That is my right. I may disagree with a ruling.

        Further, as I understood the Court’s ruling, individuals deemed undesirable may be denied entry, seeing you are obviously so well read and out to prove my ignorance, please, correct any misinterpretation I may have in that regard. I’m no lawyer. I only ever seek to posit my limited understanding of the issues. You are welcome to fume & rant.

        My position that Trinidad may turn back Jamaicans stands. If immigration deems you undesirable, go home. Tell your government to advocate to get the grey areas clearly defined. Stop acting like you have an unquestionable right to entry. That is NOT so. As far as I know, Trinidad need only state the reasons for denying the visitors entry, which it did.

        I’m not on a quest to prove anything. This is entirely my opinion, based on my interpretation & my sentiments towards free movement in this region. If you absolutely must prove something, write a response somewhere – bring attention to my ignorance. I welcome the traffic.

        As always, I thank you for taking the time to read & comment. Much appreciated.

        December 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

  34. Pingback: Jamaicans Boycott Trinidadian Products After Deportation Fiasco · Global Voices

  35. Kenal-99

    “I have conceded the fact that the CCJ may have interpreted the RTC to allow for unrestrained access. That is not at issue here. I am well aware of that. My position is that the Court was wrong, in my opinion. I do not accept that the framers of free movement envisioned what the Court outlined or interpreted. That is my right. I may disagree with a ruling.”

    Of course you have the right to disagree with any number of things, including a court ruling. I am not aware that I was giving the impression that you weren’t so entitled. I am aware that your position right now is that the Court was wrong but you haven’t said why you think the Court was wrong other than you believe that the drafters of the RTC and 2007 Conference decision could not have meant for there to be unrestricted access. This is really a straw man argument in any event because the Court did not interpret the RTC or the 2007 grant to grant unrestricted access. What the court actually said and again, this is at the risk of repeating myself, is that the RTC and the 2007 Conference decision confers a right of definite entry. Further RTC and the 2007 Conference decision in very plain words outlined the circumstances under which entry may be denied; charge on the public purse and undesirability.

    “Further, as I understood the Court’s ruling, individuals deemed undesirable may be denied entry, seeing you are obviously so well read and out to prove my ignorance, please, correct any misinterpretation I may have in that regard. I’m no lawyer. I only ever seek to posit my limited understanding of the issues. You are welcome to fume & rant.”

    Its not a matter of being well read (though I am thankful for the compliment, I do get only a precious few of them) so much as it is a matter of bothering to read and understand the one document published by the one authority empowered by the RTC to definitively rule on what things like free movement and entry means within CARICOM. So yes, a person can be turned away for undesirability but as the Court points out “undesirability” has a technical legal meaning, a meaning which the framers and drafters of the RTC and 2007 Conference decision would have been well aware. So that if they didn’t mean “undesirability” in the legal sense and having the services of many lawyers in the drafting process, they could have used other words. Undesirability therefore does not mean that the immigration authorities can turn you back because they don’t like certain answers you give or because they think you are lying about your true intentions. Undesirability must be a concrete suspicion that your purpose for visiting is to commit a crime. Therefore all the questions about hosts and reasons for visiting are immaterial to the question of entry if the person has enough money, a return ticket and you can’t show that their purpose is to commit a crime. All of these things came up in the Myrie case and was addressed by the Court. So that in fact there are no grey areas for governments to address; they just need to obey the law and properly train their immigration officers accordingly.

    “As far as I know, Trinidad need only state the reasons for denying the visitors entry, which it did. ”

    Wrong again!! It might be as far as you know but I would humbly suggest you are in need of further education. Immigration cannot just deem you undesirable as they see fit without due regard to what the court has said is the meaning of undesirability. And if they could the whole CARICOM arrangement, which you say you support, would be a giant waste of time. If there is no difference between the way immigration authorities treat CARICOM and non-CARICOM nationals then what is the point of this whole facade. When states make treaties like the RTC, they necessarily and expressly agree to give up some of their sovereign powers. This is the basic essence of treaty making; when you agree with other states to do something you don’t get to turn around later and assert sovereignty as a defence for not fulfilling your obligations. It logically follows then that the sovereign authority which is inherent in all states to refuse entry to non-citizens and non-residents, is necessarily proscribed in relation to a certain group of non-citizens and non-residents, if that state agrees to grant that group special rights via a treaty. So yes, Trinidad has the sovereign authority to unquestionably deny entry to all non-citizens and non-residents, except those from CARICOM member states. The reasons for denial are limited and any stated reason falling outside of those limited reasons represents a violation. Additionally per the Myrie judgment (which is now the law in CARICOM) even if the reason is valid, the visitor STILL has the right to consult with a lawyer, a family member (if available) and a consular officer BEFORE being deported; none of this was afforded to the 13 Jamaicans turned away.

    For someone who accused others of getting the facts wrong on this incident, it is a little shocking that in the very same article you manage to get a few of the critical facts so horribly wrong yourself. But as usual where ignorance is bliss ’tis indeed folly to be wise.

    December 3, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    • I’m not sure I said the designation “undesirable” was to be arbitrary. Nor did I accuse anyone of getting anything wrong. I said we, all of us, got mad without all the facts.

      Trinidad did provide those concrete reasons as to why they felt those people did not meet the eligibility requirements. I saw such a list. I heard the Security Minister outlining such reasons.

      I’ll continue to maintain my stance even in the face of your characteristic condescension. That’s okay.

      As I said Kenyatta (sp), if you feel so strongly about my errors and ignorance, write a response. Go debate it elsewhere, please.

      December 3, 2013 at 2:25 pm

  36. Don Juan

    Mr. Editor, I was about to blow a gasket when i started reading this, but humbled myself and stuck with what I considered your challenged logic. Then I started to read Kenal-99’s response. Damn. I just sat back and said you tell it Kenal, you tell it.

    As I am reminded by that debate between the two candidates when one said to the other “you are entitled to your own opinions, not your own facts”. You, Mr. Editor are clearly entitled to your own opinions and seemingly living where you do you need to be that Jamaican among the bunch that is “objective”.

    For all my objectivity, I may not be as “objective” as say George Bush, starting an invasion of Iraq, because Saddam tried to kill his daddy, but I will say this…hurt, embarrass or otherwise be untoward toward my family and the gloves come off. In my family are included people like you Mr. Editor, once you are a subject of the Black, Green and Gold, you are family. I may not always like you, but LOVE you I do (see MLK Jr. for an appreciation of the difference). When I am in Brooklyn, My family is all of the nationals of the Caribbean…one sea, one people.

    I am in agreement with Kenal-99, we are either serious about this thing called regional integration, of which free movement of people, goods and services are key or we are not. Don’t turn friends…and the friends of this concept of regional integration are fewer than those opposed to it…don’t turn friends into enemies with this kind of foolishness. When you send home a child coming to look for her father…you are turning me into an enemy.

    Life may be bad in Jamaica, but what future does he give to her by uprooting her from school there (JA) to have her do school there (T&T)….are the schools and social services in T&T so liberal (like In NY) not to care about the immigration status of the child…or is he (as an “illegal”) subjecting his child to a life of untold unknowns. Did she have a return ticket. With caller ID, If I saw that the immigration services or whatever their proper title as identified by the phone company is, calling me and I knew that Johnny/Janet could or would be the reason they were calling me…me recruiting them to come work for me without a proper work permit, would I answer the phone? Would I even on answering the phone acknowledge that this person was coming to see me? Hardly likely…there might be penalties to pay for that…who welcomes a rumble with immigration or the courts…who knows how many other “illegals” I have working for me….a raid on my place…hell no!!! I don’t know the dude/dudette!

    Kenal-99 with the interpretation of the legal arguments given on multiple occasions has covered all the bases I would and certainly did a better job than I could….I, like him, now question the meaning of Caricom, if indeed it means that both our two STRONGEST partners in the whole attempt at the FEDERAL STATE back in the 59-62 period can in the contemporary time, even with a Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas (RTC) get it so horribly wrong, what future for a common united region?

    Barbados got slapped down by the court and I just hope and pray that we will now have 13 cases going to the Trinidad seated CCJ for the MYRIE point to be unequivocally MADE AGAIN! As Caribbean Countries under the Caricom banner, we do not, repeat do not, get to treat our nationals this way. And I hope the financial judgement this time around will be more judicious. Maybe that will impact our buy decisions at the supermarket, when we must chose between Bigga and Busta, Seprod and Bermudez. Maybe our at our refineries we may decide just how much less Trinidad Oil and Gas….or how much more Mexican/Nigerian/Venezuelan Oil and Gas we should take on for processing.

    Afterall we don’t want Kamla thinking we are making to many more unsubstantiated calls on the ATM of the region now would we?

    And Mr. Editor, one more thing….what’s that all about, referring to my bro/sis as Kenyatta when his/her handle has consistently been Kenal-99….outing him sir? A little underhand wouldn’t you say sir or was that simply, totally, completely…innocent? Hmmm. I wonder. Or did I get it horribly wrong. In the words of my mentor from T&T…”I am usually wrong about all these things”

    December 16, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    • Thanks for stopping by & sharing your thoughts. Much appreciated.

      December 16, 2013 at 8:31 pm

  37. Hugh Anthony

    Excellent article. Well thought out. The Trinidad and Tobago flag is wrongly represented though. Please google “Republic of Trinidad and Tobago flag”

    December 27, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    • Thanks much for the correction.

      December 27, 2013 at 11:50 pm

  38. Marmac

    Your rationale for 13 Jamaicans who were refused entry at the Piarco airport is based on the assumption that they were undesirables.These 13 Jamaicans were also the subject of taunting,provided with no reasons as to why they did not meet the entry requirements and claimed to be rudely handled when put back on a returning flight to Jamaica.So let’s presume that they were undesirables. Even if they were,that doesn’t justify being humiliated and abused.Are you telling me Jamaicans are not so supposed to get upset .So tell me,what do you say to Jamaicans to convince them not to retaliate when their decent law abiding compatriots, before being granted entry, are put through hell by Trinidad immigration for no reason.I am sure you must have read where Christopher Daley,the Jamaican broadcaster complained bitterly via social media about the gross mistreatment he and his wife received when they recently traveled to Trinidad .He said it was the worst travel experience he has had in his life,not even in the United States has he ever felt so humiliated. He felt based on his experience that Jamaicans were being unfairly targeted.Dr Peta Gaye Baker of the University of the West Indies also complained recently about the treatment and extra scrutiny 4 Jamaican lecturers received when when they landed in Trinidad.They were the only ones out of all the passengers on their plane who a search was performed on.In the end these Jamaicans were not found to be contravening any immigration laws and in both cases no valid reasons were given to be suspicious of them in the first place. That is why most Jamaicans are not buying the reasons handed down by Security Minister for turning these 13 Jamaicans away.Please do not tell me about bad travel record of some Jamaicans .It can never be a justification to mistreat and humiliate person C and D of a particular group,based on the bad experiences you had with persons A and B of the same group.That equates to prejudice and discrimination.

    You accused Jamaicans who wanted to boycott Trinidadian products of being hypocrites because they wanted the Jamaican government to send their Haitian brothers and sisters back after the earthquake,.Those were two different scenarios.It was clear that based on the devastation these poor Haitian refugees had endured that they were coming to Jamaica to spend well over the allowed time (6 months without restriction) that free movement in Caricom accords visiting Caricom nationals to stay in other Caricom countries.I must also add those Haitians who fled to Jamaica were treated the total opposite of how many Jamaicans in recent times are being treated when landing in Trinidad.Many of the Haitian refugees expressed their appreciation at how warmly they were received when they landed in Jamaica.

    And for the record,which country does not think it is the best.I once met a proud Grenadian who told me that Grenadians have an inflated view of themselves.She said Grenadians feel that no where is like Grenada in the Caribbean.I also have listened to many Bajans beat their chest about how they are the best and I am sure that Trinidadians also believe they are the best in the Caribbean too.One Kittitian guy relayed how he was always teased by Trinidadians at his college because they felt that St.Kitts was insignificant because it is a smaller island. Jamaicans are just more vocally expressive people.Regarding your assertion that Trinidadians have ‘precious little to bad mind about Jamaica’ as Jamaica has economic,social and political problems,I just have to shake my head.Yes I am sure most Jamaicans will agree that those areas are not doing well and need major improvement,but that doesn’t negate the fact that Jamaicans have achieved a lot especially on the international scene with regards to culture and sports.Maybe that might be trivial to you in light of the myriad of problems the country faces,but for a small island it is highly remarkable.Many Jamaicans have told of the snide remarks they’ve heard from some of their Caribbean neighbours about Jamaica’s international success in sports and music.

    Lastly Jamaica has the right to want to leave Caricom if it feels it is being the subject of unfair trade practices by Trinidad and it feels its law abiding citizens are being treated with disdain when travelling to Trinidad.No one wants to be in relationship where one is benefiting at the expense of the other.Jamaicans are not optimistic about Trinidad changing any of their trade practices which have a negative impact on the Jamaican economy any time soon.And by the way just as you have decided to be the objective Jamaican,they are many objective Trinidadians who have expressed disgust at their immigration officials concerning this incident and who have sided with Jamaicans on this issue .

    January 18, 2014 at 4:31 am

  39. We stumbled over here different website and thought I should chec things out.

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    February 1, 2014 at 12:23 pm

  40. Filius Hannabilis

    This is, perhaps, a dead thread, but the issue is very much extant.

    An interesting article, to be sure, and it does give one food for thought. However, your position is undermined by unsound premises. You have misapprehended the true nature of CARICOM and its associated bodies. The comparison made between Haiti and Jamaica, for example, is inapposite because Haiti, unlike Jamaica and Trinidad, is not a member of the CSME. The rights and privileges established by the CSME provisions of the Treaty of Chagaruamas are those which are most pertinent to this discussion and it is within these that we find the declaration of the right — qualified, as it stands — free movement within the borders of the bloc of party states. Further, the assertion that the common passport is merely a visa may be reflective of the status quo, but certainly not of the treaty-makers’ intent — that is to say, the common passport scheme is being incorrectly implemented. Take a look at the Grand Anse Declaration, it should be of some help.

    February 19, 2014 at 7:38 am

  41. Trinifighter

    I for one couldnt give a damm…. I am a son of the soil Trinidadian who does not feel that our people own any sovereign nation anything. Trinidad and Tobago is constantantly allowing to much to continue as it applies to foregign nationals coming in to our country and depleting our resources only to have this backfire on us. And you Jamaicans always trying to boycott at the first sign of impending trouble. Ok shit has to stop here..I call on all Trinidadians to take back our country from the Riff raff that is trying to reduce it to nothing. Let’s get these strays out my people…Stand united against this liberal bull shit! Folks need to learn how to stand on their own two feet!

    December 15, 2014 at 7:16 am

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