Former Trinidad Minister, Gary Griffith, Calls Jamaicans “A Burden”

Gary Griffith - Jamaicans Burden

Gary Griffith, a former national security minister in Trinidad and Tobago, wants the government to stand up to Jamaica’s requests to CARICOM to bring legal action against the country concerning its policy of deporting Jamaican nationals. According to Griffith, over 20,000 Jamaicans live in T&T illegally, becoming a “burden” on the state. Dr. Manorma Soeknandan, the Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador for CARICOM, called for greater “sensitization” among the regional border authorities concerning the rules and procedures that govern free travel within CARICOM’s 15 member states. He said that the treatment received by CARICOM nationals who travel in the region continues to be a subject of discussion. Jamaica has criticized the decision by immigration authorities in T&T to send some nationals back, claiming the deportation arose because these individuals would be a “drain” on the country’s economy. In response to these actions, Jamaicans want to implement a boycott against imports from Port of Spain, and a Jamaican Opposition legislator wants the government of Andrew Holness to bring the issue to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). Griffith, however, said it was “alarming” that the Opposition would question the legitimate activities of immigration officials as they attempt to do their jobs. He noted their abuse by some Jamaican nationals who try to enter T&T without the appropriate documentation. He went on to say, ““It is because of this, that there are over 20,000 Jamaican nationals who have done just that, by using the CSME (Caricom Single Market and Economy) angle to enter for six months, but then refuse to leave after that six-month period.”

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