Reprinted from Jamaica Observer
Kingston, Jamaica: PRIME Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Dr Keith Rowley has assured that all Caribbean nationals who visit the twin-island republic will be treated with respect.
He said that despite the negative perception, 97 per cent of every 100 persons that visit Trinidad and Tobago “come with no problem”.
“If there is three per cent that have some issues, those issues must and will be dealt with in a dignified manner [as] the Caribbean Community (Caricom) has required us to take steps to ensure that all our people crossing all our borders are treated with dignity,” he said.
Dr Rowley was speaking at the start of a bilateral meeting at the Office of the Prime Minister on Monday.
The prime minister said that his country was also taking steps “to ensure that there is no situation where we can be justifiably accused of not being able to respond appropriately (to issues persons may have at the borders)”.
He argued that if there are arrivals which, for one reason or another, do not qualify for entry, “this is part of the process, and what we politicians need to do, is to ensure that our people understand the basis on which we can visit each other”.
He added: “We are sovereign states (that have) agreed to work within a grouping called Caricom. We do have some significant element of freedom of movement, but there are restrictions in there, and that qualification takes place at the border. So, it is likely from time to time that at our borders some of our citizens may not meet the requirements for entry and those requirements are very clear and it is for us to let our population know that.”
Prime Minister Rowley further pointed out that his country has taken steps to ensure that “the necessary training and sensitisation is taking place at immigration”.
Turning to relations between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, Dr Rowley said there is nothing but brotherly love for the people of Jamaica, pointing out that there are “many tens and thousands of Jamaicans who are living comfortably, going in and out of Trinidad and Tobago”.
The prime minister further committed to working with Prime Minister Andrew Holness to strengthen relations between both countries.
“Our people ought to be able to look to us for clearing the pathway for easier movement, and for clearing the pathway for better investment opportunities,” he said.