June 19, 2007


Trinidad minister responds to expulsion of Caribbean journalists
Published on Tuesday, June 19, 2007
By Stephen Cummings - Caribbean Net News Trinidad and Tobago Correspondent

PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad:
Trinidad and Tobago 's Foreign Affairs Minister Arnold Piggott has responded to the expulsion of two Caribbean Journalists from Antigua and Barbuda.
One journalist is Trinidad and Tobago national Vernon Khelawan, while the other is Dominican-born Lennox Linton.
Piggott, speaking in reference to Khelawan, said in his case he could apply for re-entry. Piggott said he had been in contact with the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and had been assured that the two expelled journalists can re-apply for entry into the island once the necessary immigration documents are submitted. "There is the right of any immigration authorities in any country to deny entry, if they have good reason or if they grant entry to an individual and later decide otherwise, to revoke that entry," said Piggot. "My ministry recognizes that Mr Khelawan, a national was involved in an incident, and we approached the Government of Antigua and Barbuda to obtain an explanation," said Piggott.
According to Piggott, Trinidad and Tobago had been provided with full information on the matter. However, the minister said there continues to be ongoing discussion on the development aimed at a resolution.
The issue has cast some shadow on the effectiveness of the free movement of workers initiative within the region and the Caricom Single Market and Economy CSME drive. Head of the CSME Unit in Trinidad Ambassador, Jerry Narace has rejected claims that the expulsion of the journalists was a sign of weakness in the system.
Both journalists were ordered to leave Antigua and Barbuda on the order of that country's Prime Minister, Balwin Spender after they were said to be in violation of immigration documents. Among the violations were the absence of work permits.
While many Caribbean countries now have a Caricom treaty which allows for free movement of media and other specific categories of workers within the region Antigua and Barbuda is one of those countries still to update its law in accordance with that treaty.

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