[www.inewsguyana.com] – A student who has recently completed reading for her Law Degree at the University of Guyana (UG) was yesterday, September 4, 2014 denied entry into the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago and subsequently deported. The student was at the time preparing to take up a place at the Hugh Wooding Law School (HWLS).
Former President of the Students Representative Council (SRC) at HWLS Ronald Daniels was to “pick up” the student at Piarco International Airport where the events occurred.
In a social media post via Facebook Daniels said, “Yesterday I went to the Piarco International Airport, Trinidad to pick up (not receive) my cousin’s friend. The young lady, whose identity I will not presently disclose, came to Trinidad to take up studies at the Hugh Wooding Law School (the Law School). The practice is that ‘Letters of Acceptance’ would be sent to the law students who are selected for entry into the Law School. Also a list with the students’ names is forwarded to the immigration authority at the airport by the Law School. The immigration authority checks the names of the students against the list to process the students accordingly.”
Daniels stated, “Her flight landed at 10:45 AM. At 11:30 AM I was yet to see any signs of her. Another law student appeared and informed me that she was having some difficulties with clearing immigration. At midday I became impatient and spoke with the attendant who was sitting outside at Customs. She directed me to the airport phone and gave me the number for immigration. The woman who answered told me matter-of-factly that she cannot give me any information about the young lady and that I must get the information I seek from the airline. The Caribbean Airlines attendant sent me to the information desk where I was informed that she can only be paged from the information desk. I persisted that I was aware she was having immigration difficulties. The personnel at the information desk sent me back to the phone to call immigration and let them know I am aware that the young lady was being detained. I did as I was instructed and the woman from immigration I spoke with the first time told that the young lady had been refused entry into Trinidad. I asked on what grounds and was told I would have to get that information from the young lady. I was further informed that she was being placed into the custody of the airlines and that I would have to rely on the courtesy of the airlines to be permitted to speak with her.”
He noted that, “The Caribbean Airlines attendant was very accommodating and allowed me to speak to the young lady by phone after informing me that they were about to put her on a return flight to Guyana. The young lady informed me that she was being denied entry due to not having a Letter of Acceptance from the Law School and having traveled on a one-way ticket. She told me further that she expressed to the customs officials her willingness to purchase a return ticket on the spot as having a return ticket was a condition for ordinary entry. I gave her in brief her legal rights and encouraged her to persuade the immigration officers of the harshness of their decision.
I again called the immigration officer who remained relatively uncooperative. I told her that I am no stranger to the law and that based on the Shanique Myrie Decision recently handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) there isn’t a concrete basis for refusal of entry.”
He said, “Having said this there was a noticeable change in the tone of the immigration officer. I asked kindly that a call be placed to the Law School and provided a number to speed up this process. She told me they did call the Law School and was told that Guyana has not yet forwarded a list of its students to the Law School. I explained to the officer that from my own experience this is not uncommon. And even so, there is no reason why the young lady should not be permitted to enter as an ordinary visitor since she is ready to purchase a return ticket on the spot. We both agreed that would require a change in declaration. What this means is that she would have to change her reason for entering the country. This change would only be as a matter of convenience that she may sort out her acceptance issue. The officer seemed amenable to this course of action and asked me to return a call in 10 minutes to permit her to speak to a senior immigration officer. While this was happening the young lady was waiting to board the plane for deportation.”
Daniels’ post also said, “I called back the immigration officer as instructed and was told that the senior immigration officer said that the first declaration stands and that the young lady would not be allowed to change her declaration. I stressed the unique nature of her circumstances and asked to speak to the senior officer. I was asked to call back in half hour as she was engaged. I indicated that this would be of no use as the plane is nearing departure. I reinforced the fact that the position that immigration was taking goes against the Shanique Myrie Decision and can form the basis for legal action. And employing that course was neither desirable and should not be necessary if immigration would be not be so hasty. The immigration officer told me, and I sensed regrettably, that the young lady will be sent home. She was sent home. I am recalling all of this here so that you will get a general picture of what transpired.”
(This Story first appeared on SPLASH and was re-posted on iNews Guyana)