(Trinidad Express) Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran yesterday said that he does not want any trade wars with Jamaica and assured that solutions will be found to quell the tension between both countries.
Dookeran is currently in Jamaica, having accepted an invitation from Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator AJ Nicholson, to discuss immigration concerns on the Jamaican end after 13 Jamaican nationals were refused entry into Trinidad last month, on the basis they did not qualify for entry.
Jamaica High Commissioner to Trinidad and Tobago Sharon Saunders had told the Express that Jamaicans were being refused entry into Trinidad on a daily basis and the problem was of major concern to the Jamaican government.
Yesterday, Dookeran met with representatives of Jamaica’s private sector, including the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce and members of the manufacturing and business sectors.
In delivering remarks, he referred to the problem between Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica as an “inflamed nerve” that must be addressed.
Dookeran noted that the Caricom treaty was recently revised and there was new expected behaviour on the part of all member-countries.
He said he was aware of trade issues between T&T and Jamaica which has been a source of concern for some time.
Dookeran also noted that Jamaica has been struggling to overcome economic challenges in the wake of the global economic meltdown and noted the Jamaican government took “bold and serious” steps to address this.
Referring to his meeting with Jamaica’s private sector, Dookeran said he was humbled to have heard the views from the people on the ground and will work towards finding a remedy.
“It is not beneficial to you or for us for Trinidad or for Jamaica to allow a trade war to develop…both our countries will suffer,” said Dookeran, adding that there could be strains in the areas of investment, employment and building of capacity.
“I am not here to ease anything, I am here to work out a solution,” said Dookeran, who added that he knows the political climate between both countries was tense, but assured that the problem will be fixed.