US needs to hold deportation until borders reopen

US needs to hold deportation until borders reopen
Julian Robinson

The People’s National Party (PNP) is strongly urging the Government of Jamaica to immediately re-engage the United States authorities to postpone the deportation of Jamaicans until health authorities confirm it is safe and prudent to reopen the island’s borders.

Julian Robinson, opposition spokesman on science, technology and information says the Prime Minister must explain that the closure of our borders is to protect our citizens against the spread of this deadly virus, and that it is only after the borders are re-opened that there can be a restoration of the normal process of responsible deportation.

“Even if pressure has been exerted upon our Government to give in, it is the Government’s sacred duty to make a compelling case that protects our country, because of the threat COVID-19 poses to the lives of the Jamaican people. Anyone traveling abroad who has not been screened and cleared of the infection poses a direct threat to the public health of the Jamaican people at this time,” Robinson said.

He added: “Our health system is already in danger of being stretched beyond its capacity, and our quarantine arrangements are not sufficiently robust and efficient. In these circumstances, Jamaica cannot open our borders to deportees, as if these were normal times.”

Robinson said the Opposition has been cooperative and constructive in its dealings with the Government to help Jamaica overcome this crisis, but that the PNP strongly disagrees with making this dangerous exception to the agreed national policy of border closure.

“While the Opposition will continue to support the measures now in place in the national effort against COVID-19, we are firm and unequivocal that in this instance the Government must uphold Jamaica’s sovereignty and decline to allow deportations. We demand that they stand up for our national health imperatives to protect the society from this critical risk.”