Jamaican comedic actor and radio host, Christopher ‘Johnny’ Daley has called out Trinidadian immigration officials, accusing them of unfairly targeting and mistreating Jamaicans following a interaction with them at the Piarco International Airport in Port-of-Spain.
On Tuesday, Daley detailed his frustration with officials after he and his wife arrived in the island to celebrate their wedding anniversary. According to the popular actor/comedian, he believes they were given a hard time due to their nationality.
"My fellow Jamaicans, please have all your ducks in a row and your T's crossed if you need to travel to Trinidad and Tobago because we are being targeted, no doubt,” a post on his official Facebook page read. “They had no good reason to treat my wife and I the way they did, so I can only assume it's our nationality that was the issue. It's as if the Immigration and Customs personnel have replaced the word Jamaican with criminal, so, please be careful."
It continued, "A. J. Nicholson ... there is much work to be done. We were suspects, the minute we walked up to immigration. Without scanning our passports, the Indian looking officer took up a phone and called someone to indicate that she felt suspicious ...This has never happened before in all my years of travelling. Even to the great United States, a country that is constantly having to protect its borders from terrorists. It was humiliating ... there was no respect shown to me and my wife.”
Daley said he would not have aired his grievances if things had gone well following the initial interview with customs officials, but they did not.
"Without hesitation, on reaching the customs officer, he called over the woman in bright orange that was the leader of the Enforcement Team. She showed her name tag before she started her interrogation of the suspects (that's how I felt). She asked about the contents of our luggage. While searching our luggage, I was asked to break open one of the patties we took for our hosts, she then broke several pieces of the ginger we were asked to take, and squeezed the hard-dough bread so hard that it lost its shape. Having not found anything beyond what was reflected she moved on to the next bags.”
Further reports indicate that this ordeal nearly cost the couple a connecting flight, which they eventually made, but were forced to leave their luggage behind.
This news comes a month and a half after news emerged that 13 Jamaicans were turned away, detained and sent home by Trinidadian immigration officials. Reports stated that the refused Jamaicans insisted they were given no explanation for being denied entry into the country. A recent ruling in the Shanique Myrie case deemed that when a Caribbean national is denied entry into a Caricom state, that national should be allowed the right to contact legal counsel, a consular official from his or her country, or a family member.
That news prompted talk among Jamaicans of whether or not to stop the consumption and importation of Trinidadian products into Jamaica as well as talk of an increasingly tense relationship between the two Caribbean nations.