National Security Minister Gary Griffith in a statement said the decision by Kingston “should be respected as it shows a firm stand by that country’s National Security to ensure that stringent measures are exercised to protect that country’s borders”.
Bakr, accompanied by his wife and son, had arrived in Jamaica to attend the 18th anniversary of the Million Dollar March to be held in that country over the weekend.
Bakr is reported to have been invited by the US-based leader, Louis Farakhan, who is expected to be the main speaker at the anniversary celebrations.
But Bakr, 73, who staged an unsuccessful coup against the then ANR Robinson administration in Trinidad and Tobago in 1990, was denied entry and media reports in Jamaica said he had been placed on a list by the International Police (INTERPOL).
The Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) in Jamaica in a statement said Bakr had “arrived on a flight from Trinidad and Tobago and was refused leave to land under Section 4 (1) h of the Immigration Restriction (Commonwealth Citizens) Act”.
The section states "The following Commonwealth citizens (not being persons deemed to belong to the Island as defined by sub section (2) of section 2) are prohibited immigrants.
(h) any person who, from information or advice which in the opinion of the Minister is reliable information or advice, is deemed by the Minister to be an undesirable inhabitant of or visitor to the island.”
The PICA said the decision to refuse leave to land “is in the interest of national security, given the present threat posed to public safety.
“Plans are being made to return him to Trinidad and Tobago,” it added.
A passenger on the Caribbean Airlines flight returning to the Piarco International Airport told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC) that Bakr,, who had been placed in handcuffs, was refusing to sit at the back of the airline.
‘He refuses to sit in the back. The security officials are all huddled debating what to do. He wants a seat in first class, “said the passenger.
The passenger said that Bakr seemed “calm” during the whole episode, but Jamaica media reported that he was boisterous and objected to being barred from leaving the airport.
Griffith said while the reasons for Bakr’s refusal have not been made public “it is key to note that there are various criteria and justifications that reside in the power and authority of a nation’s immigration laws to deny entry to any individual or group.
“These decisions should not be questioned, but rather accepted by all,” he said.
Griffith said that he supports the actions of the Jamaican authorities and are far from “muddying waters’ an apparent reference to a statement made by Jamaica’s Foreign Affairs Minister AJ Nicholson that Griffith to “refrain from continuing to muddy the integration waters” as he responded to comments that the influx of thousands of illegal Jamaicans into the oil-rich twin island republic is putting a strain on its resources.
Griffith said that notwithstanding the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for free movement of certain categories of Caribbean nationals across the 15-member regional grouping, “it must be clearly understood that matters of national security must take precedence for the safety and security of all”.
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