KINGSTON: Arnold J. Nicholson, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, has invited his Trinidadian counterpart, Winston Dookeran, to visit Jamaica before the end of 2013 for discussions on relations between Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago in the context of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
Nicholson handed the letter of invitation to Reverend Dr. Iva Gloudon, High Commissioner of Trinidad & Tobago to Jamaica, who had been called to a meeting at the Ministry’s offices on Monday, according to a Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade media release.
The release further stated Nicholson advised the High Commissioner that the number of Jamaicans being returned from Trinidad & Tobago had generated considerable public outrage and had the potential to undermine confidence and diminish goodwill on the part of many Jamaicans towards Trinidad & Tobago and the wider regional integration movement.
“I believe that our personal intervention and collaboration can go a far way in bringing this issue to a speedy and successful conclusion,” said Nicholson. “This is of the utmost importance as a regional integration movement which does and is perceived as protecting and advancing the interests of all sides is vital to the progress of our regional enterprise.”
Nicholson outlined a number of areas for discussion, including the activation by Trinidad & Tobago of all 10 categories for movement of skills; the perception of profiling of Jamaicans travelling to Trinidad & Tobago; the right of nationals to contact their consular authorities upon being denied entry, as well as the obligation of the immigration officials to facilitate this communication, in accordance with Article 36 of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations; and mechanisms to exchange information between the immigration authorities of both sides.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade reiterated that whenever Jamaicans are detained or refused entry, they should, on return to Jamaica, immediately lodge a written report with the immigration authorities processing them or with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade. Anecdotal reports alone are not sufficient to allow the Ministry to effectively represent the interests of Jamaicans who believe their rights have been infringed.