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GIVE ME MY PASSPORT

Jamaican woman caught working illegally in T&T wants to go back home; begs Immigration to return travel document

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

“I WANT to go home”.

This is the plea of Jamaican national Tamika Williams, who claimed on Thursday that members of the Trinidad and Tobago Immigration Division have confiscated her passport.

It is the latest tale in the ongoing conflict between local immigration officials following the deportation of 13 Jamaican nationals from this country last month.

Williams, 27, from St Elizabeth in Jamaica, arrived on June 17 for vacation.

She was granted a six-month stay, ending December 16.

Williams, who does cosmetology and hair-dressing in Jamaica, was expected to leave the country next Monday.

She bought a ticket and was happy to see her two sons, Jamario, four, and Omario, ten. Then Williams ran afoul of the law.

In late October, Williams was among five other immigrants found working illegally at a gas station in Chaguanas during a raid conducted by immigration officials.

Williams and the four others were taken to the Chaguanas Police Station.

Their passports and other documents were confiscated. They slept in a cell that night.

On November 4, Williams and the four others appeared before a Chaguanas magistrate. They all pleaded guilty to working without the requisite permission.

They were all fined $700 to be paid immediately or face three months jail time.

The magistrate said they were free to go.

Immigration officials intervened, however, and asked that the five carry receipt of the payment to the immigration office in San Fernando.

Williams said this country’s immigration officials have since not returned their passports because they are all “under observation”.

They have returned to the office every week to retrieve the documents to no avail.

Their last visit was last week Tuesday.

They are scheduled to return on December 12, days after her planned flight, Williams said on Thursday.

“I don’t know why they are doing this. I came her legally. I worked, which I know was wrong but I just want to go home now. I want to see my sons,” she said.

“They are just being wicked. I have a ticket to leave, just give me my passport and let me leave,” Williams.

Williams slammed the Jamaican High Commission in Trinidad for its inability to help in the situation.

“They are here to serve us and if they cannot help then who can help?” she asked.

Contacted yesterday for comment, an officer at the Immigration Department, Coffee Street, San Fernando he was aware of the case involving Williams, but was not authorised to speak about the issue.

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran travelled to Jamaica earlier this week in the wake of the turning away of 13 Jamaican nationals at Piarco International Airport on November 19. 

Following the visit, Dookeran said he was optimistic the diplomatic intervention had “cooled the waters” and prevented the “stresses and strains” between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica from spilling over into other areas of their economic relationship, especially in trade. 

Dookeran held consultations with Jamaican officials there, led by Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Arnold J Nicholson, on the free movement of Jamaicans into Trinidad and Tobago within the context of the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).

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