‘Illegal’ Jamaican leaves two weeks later than planned

By Joel Julien

JAMAICAN national Tamika Williams will be leaving this country today, two weeks later than originally planned.

Williams had her passport confiscated by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Immigration Department earlier this month.

She is expected to have her passport returned before she boards the plane today.

The situation with Williams was one of a series of conflicts involving local immigration officials recently including the deportation of 13 Jamaican nationals from this country last month.        

In late October, Williams was among five 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 complained that this country’s immigration officials had not returned her passport and those of her colleagues.

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 this country on the day her six-month stay was scheduled to end.

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

Williams said she and the other four were told that the only way they would be allowed to re-enter the country is with written permission from the Prime Minister.

“I won’t be coming back. I came here for vacation, I admit I started to work illegally but they treated me like a real hardened criminal,” Williams told the Express yesterday.

She said Omario is upset with her because she missed his birthday and Christmas.

“I planned to leave on December 16 and I would have arrived in time to spend Christmas with my sons but I missed that opportunity and they are rightfully hurt,” she said.

Williams will be leaving on board Caribbean Airlines BW 474 scheduled to depart Piarco International Airport at 9.15 a.m.

So far three of her other colleagues have since left this country.

“Three of the other girls left already and they did not experience any problems, they got their passports at the airport. I hope all goes well with me,” Williams said.

“It is the last day of the year and I hope that 2014 will be a new year for me,” she said.

The last of the five is expected to leave soon.

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