Chastanet: CARICOM leaders sensitive to impediments to intraregional travel

Prime Minister, Allen Chastanet, has asserted that Caricom leaders are sensitive to impediments to intra-regional travel and disclosed that the Caricom Secretariat is working on a document to help rectify the problem.

“The heads are extremely sensitive to that issue,” Chastanet told the Times.

“Clearly the intent is for people to be able to fly between our countries as citizens and we recognize that it does not always work, so even if there is one incident it is too many,” the Saint Lucia leader said.

He gave the assurance that regional leaders are taking the matter very seriously.

Chastanet disclosed that the Caricom Secretariat has been asked to put together a report, which he assumed would be available in February to deal with the issue.

He spoke in in the wake of fresh complaints by at least two Jamaican women and a pregnant Guyanese about their treatment at the Grantley Adams International Airport in Barbados.

Earlier this month, former Caricom Ambassador to Haiti, Saint Lucian Earl Huntley, called for a constant review of the way regional immigration officials treat Caricom nationals.

Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Doctor Ralph Gonsalves, has also spoken out on the issue, asserting that the real problem was not regional governments, but rather lay with the refusal of some immigration officers to carry out the law as specified in the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) case involving Myrie.

Myrie was awarded damages in the sum of US$38,000 by the CCJ after she filed a lawsuit claiming she was subjected to a dehumanizing cavity search by a female immigration officer at Grantley Adams International Airport, locked in a filthy room overnight and deported to Jamaica in March 2011.