Jamaicans are considerably incensed over Trinidad and Tobago’s refusal to grant 13 of their compatriots permission to land in that country. The subject has dominated the talk shows as well as social media ever since the day the 13 were sent back. This isn’t the first time this has happened, in fact news reports said that over the last three years at least 1000 Jamaicans have been sent back from the twin island republic. An Observer article provides details of what is promising to blow up into a diplomatic row:
On Tuesday, 13 Jamaicans, including an 11-year-old girl and a man who is married to a Trinidadian woman, were denied entry upon arrival at the Piarco International Airport in Port of Spain and were sent back to Jamaica the following morning.
Immigration officials at the airport seized the Jamaicans’ passports and ordered them to sit on a hard bench all night before shipping them out of the country, despite the fact that the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) allows for free travel between countries by Caribbean Community nationals.
The move by the Trinidadians is also a direct breach of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and defies a recent ruling by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), which handed down a judgement in favour of Jamaican Shanique Myrie who had sued the Barbados Government.
Myrie was refused entry into Barbados on March 14, 2011, was detained, subjected to a dehumanising cavity search, and deported to Jamaica the following day.
Reactions from social media and local newspapers give some idea of the outrage this has caused:
The fact that 13 Jamaicans from one flight were deported needs to be addressed by the tt government before we end up with a xenophobic backlash from Jamaica.
Diana Thorburn Chen
There are already FB fliers circulating calling for a boycott of all T&T goods & services.
Xenophobic backlash in full force already
Signs of the xenophobic backlash are fully in evidence. The following is from the Observer article quoted above:
Jamaican George Lopez said Jamaicans can use their purchasing power to hit the Trinidadians where it hurts most.
“The only thing that works is the economic embargo. Don’t buy their goods, don’t give their children jobs. The Government won’t do it, so the people must,” said Lopez.
“I am going to remove my money from any financial institution that has ties to the eastern Caribbean. I have long boycotted them, my family and friends also, from the 1970s. They are racist,” he charged.
Lopez said Trinidadians’ hatred for Jamaicans go way back to the 1960s when the Alexander Bustamante-led Government voted against a Caribbean Federation.
“There is a retention of hatred. It is the small island mentality. Jamaica is a continental mentality. I won’t go there (Trinidad),” he said.
Meanwhile on Twitter my good friend Grindacologist was gnashing his teeth and muttering under his breath about any Trinidadian musicans coming here:
wait till kes the band try come round ere again…a worries…
all di one machels montanas…
goin mek dem sleep pon di tarmac…
when a jamaican gets killed in trinidad dem all try deport the corpse…
Stay tuned to this spot for further updates on this contentious issue.