Indian High Commissioner says insulted at Piarco

(Trinidad Guardian) India’s High Commissioner to T&T Malay Mishra is calling on Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran to investigate what he described as a “human behaviour problem” with employees at the Piarco International Airport. Mishra said he was shouted at, insulted and humiliated by immigration officers in full view of passengers when he arrived at Piarco Airport on Liat flight 727 from Grenada on May 3, for not having an immigration form filled out.

“It is really sad that people behave this way at an entry point. I didn’t expect it could happen to me. It has left a sour taste in my mouth.” Mishra said no immigration forms were given to passengers on the flight and he had to wait until he arrived at Piarco. On arriving, he went to the diplomatic queue for clearance and obtained a form.

Mishra asked if he could stand at the side to have the form filled out, but was told to go on the other side, which had a ‘No Entry’ barricade. “So I had to come back.” At that point, Mishra said a man from another immigration counter began shouting and pointing his finger at him to fill out the form. Mishra said he approached the man and asked him to tone down his voice since there were passengers around.

Although he introduced himself, the man blamed him for not having the form. “He repeated that it was my responsibility to fill the form. When I said that I found his attitude strange, he replied that Trinidad was a strange country. I told him I have been living in Trinidad for four years, knew the country well and represented a sovereign government.” Mishra said the man replied: “Your country had been misrepresented.”

Realising that it made no sense explaining, Mishra said he remained quiet. Even members of an airline crew, Mishra said, were chastised for not having the form. Mishra said he intends to write Dookeran on the issue. “If this is the way visitors are greeted on their arrival to Trinidad, where passengers are not supplied with immigration forms, and subjected to insults, then where are we heading to?”

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