20,000 Jamaicans Living Illegally In Trinidad – Why So Silent? – Is It True?

How come the readers are so silent with this latest revelation?  Many of our people choose when to become patriotic it would seem.  Where is such patriotism when it comes on to voting in both our general and local government elections?  Come on now, let us try to be consistent with our passions and emotions.  Many of you  commentators, avid readers of the gleaner and observer online who live outside of Jamaica usually have loads to say about our affairs, so where are your comments on this piece?  If this figure is a true representation of our illegals living in Trinidad, alarming it is do you not agree?  How would we feel if it were the reverse?  I recall sometime ago, we were livid when some Haitians were being given refuge on the Roc.  What are Jamaicans really angry about?  Are we any better when our own perceptions of other people from other Caribbean Islands or even say the Continent of Africa is in itself discriminatory? Let me not go off course here and keep it in perspective if that is possible and focus on immigration laws/Caricom.  How did 20,000 Jamaicans gain entry into Trinidad in the first place?  They passed through immigration that is for sure.  So when exactly did Trinidad begin to tighten their grip at their point of entry with our nationals?  Being part of Caricom I hardly think means allowing entry into the region if persons fail to meet all requirements.  If the immigration officer is going by ‘spirit tek’ or a ‘feeling’, then that I am afraid is nothing new.  Jamaicans have experienced this sort of thing when trying to obtain visas for popular countries in the past and if you speak to some persons, they would say they know of others who have been denied entry for no apparent reason.   Does it make it right?  Certainly not but it happens.  Immigration will tell you they can do so at random.  Why is it that some persons are pulled from a line up or are questioned more intensely than others?  There is no fixed answer as many who have been pulled or otherwise have been perfectly innocent of any alleged wrong intentions.

You cannot have 20,000 undocumented workers living and benefitting from public services in any Caribbean country and not think that is a cause for concern.  Clearly immigration is a tight topic that is on the Agenda of many countries and just maybe Trinidad is saying enough is enough.  With TVJ landing on the soil of Trinidad, what stood out for me was the Jamaican (jerk food operator it seemed) who clearly stated that living in Trinidad was much better than living on the Roc.  He went on to say that Trinidad’s economy was better than JA and regardless of what happens at immigration Jamaicans will still attempt to gain entry.  Bottom line despite the humiliation as is reported, our locals think that risk is worth taking as the opportunity exists for them to earn a dollar.  So a man thinketh so is he…………………we have heard this Biblical quote before, do you believe it?

I will say to the former Minister of National Security.   Jamaicans are not taking away Trinidadians job.  In like manner the Mexicans in the USA or any foreigner who is working in a foreign land. There will always be those jobs that will be filled by foreigners whether legal or illegal as legal residents by birth believe there are some jobs they will never do.  As for the low wage offered for those jobs by employers.  I am afraid that is the argument of exploitation used by the governments who are affected by a large influx of migrants.  That should be between you and the employer and I believe that is easier said than done hence illegal immigration crisis.  Bear in mind what you consider exploitation may very well be the best thing for that migrant based on where they are coming from.  Again the Jamaican jerker says Trinidad ‘betta dan yard’.  I also do not believe that a large percentage of those illegal Jamaicans are living a life of crime.  If it were so those findings would have been reported.  Where do we go from here?

Jamaicans need to face the reality that there are many sides to a story.  In these times sensationalism should be left out when dealing with serious issues as these.  Jamaicans reputation already precedes them whether it is by the Caribbean or International communities.  While we try our best to arrive at the truth, we must not be quick to present this air of entitlement.  It would be refreshing to see  the same amount of emotion being displayed that would cause a greater amount of our locals to become part of the political process ensuring that those who are trying to build honest and decent lives for themselves and their family are truly represented by our political parties.  As for us not being liked by Trinidad or other Caribbean countries.  I say this, start by liking your own.   Your own black people before looking to others to sweep you up and embrace you.

Former minister blames CSME for tJamaica-T&T migration problems

(Jamaica Observer) Saturday, April 23, 2016 | 9:12 AM


Former national security minister in Trinidad and Tobago Gary Griffith (File photo)

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC) – Former national security minister Gary Griffith is urging the Trinidad and Tobago Government not to be intimidated by calls out of Jamaica for that Caribbean Community (Caricom) country to seek legal action regarding the deportation of Jamaican nationals.

Griffith, in a statement, claims that more than 20,000 Jamaicans were residing here illegally and have become a burden on the state.

Earlier this week, Caricom Deputy Secretary-General Ambassador Dr Manorma Soeknandan said there is need for more sensitisation among regional border officials regarding the rules and procedures governing free travel within the 15-member grouping.

Soeknandan said that the way Caricom nationals were treated as they travelled regionally continued to generate discussion.

Jamaica has in the past few weeks been critical of the decision of immigration officials in Trinidad and Tobago to send back some of their nationals claiming that they were being deported because they would be a drain on the local economy.

Jamaicans have called for a boycott of goods from Port of Spain and earlier this week Opposition legislator called on the new Andrew Holness-led Government to take the matter before the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ).

But Griffith, who served as national security minister in the former government, said: “It is indeed alarming, that the Jamaican Opposition would question the legitimate actions by our immigration officers, as they attempt daily to do their jobs, after being abused constantly by a few Jamaican nationals who attempt to enter our country without the appropriate requirements, and documentation.

“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.

“They remain unemployed and become a burden to the State; if unemployed, at times some turn to a life of crime, inclusive of gang activity; If they do work, many are abused by their employers because they are here illegally and paid below the minimum wage; be employed illegally, and hence taking a job away from a bona fide TT citizen who is unemployed,” Griffith said.

He said despite their illegal status, the Jamaicans still have full access to State resources such as education, medical care and other social services, and this is costing the State over TT$500 million (One TT dollar=US$0.16 cents) annually.

Griffith said that while the oil-rich twin island republic always had a policy of welcoming non-nationals, it disallows them solely on the grounds of them being a national security threat or burden to the State purse.

He said that the situation would not have reached to this extreme had Trinidad and Tobago been stringent with its laws.

He said it was this relaxed attitude which resulted in “certain Caricom nationals” abusing the CSME programme.

“To the Jamaican Opposition, if they are not aware, several Jamaican nationals verbally abuse our immigration officers on entry, and below are just a few examples that would confirm that such individuals should definitely be debarred entry if they attempt to enter our country, and no CSME clause can override this,” Griffith added.

The CSME allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the region

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