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DIASPORA | J'cans overseas confused as to when Gov't will accept them

  • Written by Calvin G Brown - wiredja.com
  • Published in Diaspora
Featured Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson-Smith Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Kamina Johnson-Smith
KINGSTON, April 24, 2020 - Jamaicans stranded overseas who want to return home say they are confused by the recent order indicating that Jamaican citizens may re-enter the island between April 22 and the 31st of May, as they are being rebuffed by airlines when they try to make return reservations.

Many of the Jamaicans speaking with wiredja.com, say they have been making calls to the Jamaican Embassy’s call centre to find out if the government was putting in place special charter flights to the island to accommodate Jamaicans stranded overseas.

Some of the stranded Jamaicans say since the announcement, they have been calling the airlines to make reservations to return home, but the airlines say they have not been advised when the island‘s ports will reopen and hence are not able to accommodate any reservations to Jamaica.

A media release by the opposition spokesman on foreign affairs Lisa Hanna highlighted the confusion surrounding the re-entry of Jamaicans into island with the latest Order made by the Prime Minister under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

She said the Order would immediately bring relief to some 2000 Jamaican workers, including the 43 ship workers who were denied entry while their vessel refuelled in Jamaican waters.

Hanna said social media postings made by the Minister of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade today, Kamina Johnson-Smith, suggested that the information contained in the Order was not what the Government intended.

In a release the foreign affairs minister “encouraged Jamaicans overseas to be careful about being misled by persons in social media interpreting a single paragraph of the Disaster Rick Management Act (No. 4 Order) to mean that regular travel will now start for our nationals.

The order has as a whole and recognizing that it is a part of a legal framework addressing the highly infectious COVID -19 disease. The framework will be made operational through new protocols including an electronic travel authorization process, accessible through the new JAMNCIOVID website and App,” she said.

The Minister further advised that following discussions between Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda, the Cabinet agreed to allow a flight being sent to Kingston to repatriate Antiguans, to also return a small group of Jamaicans stranded there.

 The Foreign Affairs Minister said Friday's return of 20 Jamaicans from Antigua and Barbuda serves as a test-run for the re-entry protocol being implemented for Jamaicans stranded overseas due to the closure of the country's borders in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking in the Senate on Friday, Mrs Johnson Smith explained that the Jamaicans were allowed to come home after the Antiguan government contacted local authorities in relation to the return of Antiguan students.
"The government of Antigua reached out to ask for landing authorisation for a flight which they chartered to send for approximately 50 of their students who are here, and in agreeing to that and in that process, we asked whether the just more than 20 Jamaicans, who we knew were stranded in Antigua and Barbuda...could be accommodated on that flight coming in," she explained.     
Jamaican ports have been closed to incoming passengers since March 24.

The Foreign Affairs Minister encouraged Jamaicans to await full information on the controlled re-entry process which will be shared shortly.



Last modified onSaturday, 25 April 2020 09:29
  • Countries: Jamaica