Kamina Johnson Smith, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade indicated in a post-Cabinet media briefing yesterday that while the Ministry of National Security is the lead agency dealing with the 37 Haitians who arrived in Jamaica earlier this week, it is unlikely that they will be allowed to remain on the island.
Johnson Smith says Jamaica’s laws will be respected, therefore the Haitians who arrived on the shores of Portland, which included minors, are to be treated as illegal entrants since no specific claims have been made by the group of Haitians. The Haitians have been detained and await a decision from Jamaican immigration authorities.
“We have not taken a fixed policy position in respect of Haitians arrivals in Jamaica but at this point in time we know that we are creatures of international law and we are always guided by that in terms of rules of asylum and refugee status,” Johnson Smith outlined.
There has been a completion of the health examinations conducted by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and all the individuals have been deemed healthy, as per reports by Johnson Smith. The minister also reports that the Haitians are well-fed and treated well. There will be further announcements, and decisions will be made in due course concerning the fate of the group of Haitians, says the minister.
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The Jamaican Prime Minister added his voice to the issue by saying that the government will move beyond rhetoric and provide real help for our Haitian brothers and sisters. Andrew Holness also called on the international community to help to ensure that the Haitians “achieve the peace, stability, and prosperity that they deserve.”