There was a fresh immigration incident yesterday as a visitor was transported to Trinidad in a giant crate and forcibly kept in an enclosed area north of the Queen’s Park Savannah. And, in an arguably provocative gesture to Trinidad and Tobago’s patty-loving Caribbean rival, the immigrant was renamed ‘Bolt.’
In fact, Trinidad and Tobago’s latest resident might not have expected much better. ‘Bolt’ is the Emperor Valley Zoo’s latest giraffe and, when humans stick you into a large box to travel for half a day over land and sea, you don’t get your hopes up too high about what is in store at your next destination.
Not so if you are Jamaican with a one-way ticket and no host or visible means of supporting yourself.
Jamaica has been up in arms—metaphorically this time—about the expulsion of over a dozen citizens from Trinidad on November 19 after they were whipped 2-0 in front of a mob in Port of Spain and returned to Kingston with a generous serving of humble pie.
Better luck to the “Reggae Boyz” next time. Well, not really.
Jamaica was pretty upset too that 13 of their nationals were returned to sender by Trinidad and Tobago Immigration officers on the same day. Among the complaints in the Jamaican press were that the deportees were served “raw tasting chicken” at Piarco.
Unfortunately, none of the 13 had written “food critic” on the immigration forms. It was not an inaccurate description of Royal Castle’s fare these days.
Yesterday Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran returned from a two-day tour of Jamaica to reveal he had “cooled the waters” between the two nations after discussions with Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller and Foreign Affairs Minister Arnold J Nicholson.
Dookeran explained that he agreed with Jamaica to implement a clear system for appeal and complaints by visitors who run afoul of local immigration officers and to provide accountability in the entire process. He also promised officers will work in accordance with Caricom law without conceding that they violated the law in the first place.
Or, if Mr Live Wire may translate the political-speak, Trinidad and Tobago immigration officers will continue as usual while providing the next crop of Jamaican deportees with a suggestion box for their restaurant reviews.
Clearly, the Jamaican politicians were merely fishing for empty rhetoric for their electorate and ‘Dookie Banton’ had plenty.
Maybe, Dookeran further defused the tension by telling Simpson-Miller about when a local Customs official stripped a native 10-month-old toddler of his camouflage pants. And he did not even get an ice cream as consolation!
National Security Minister Gary Griffith, who takes himself far too seriously to be a Wired868 reader, threatened to blow the diplomatic ruse by adhering to the PP principle of speaking out of turn and without consulting his colleagues.
“I want to remind everyone that the Immigration Division falls under the National Security Ministry… that has not changed,” Griffith told the Trinidad Guardian. “Immigration officers will continue to perform their duty by thoroughly verifying all persons to ensure they meet the full requirements, and if they do not meet those requirements, they would not be allowed entry into T&T. It’s as simple as that.”
Mr Live Wire thinks Griffith trying on diplomacy is like a giraffe struggling to use a smart phone.
If that giraffe in question is trying to send Dooks a BBM about his living conditions in Port of Spain, Bolt might as well do something productive with his time like downloading “Angry Birds.” Or looking up Wired868’s satirical columns!