Senators Clash As Gov’t Announces Investigation Into Detention Of Fishermen By US Coast Guards


Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, says the Government of Jamaica is investigating reports that four Jamaican fishermen were detained by the United States Coast Guard and abused.

Minister Johnson Smith says the Government is hopeful that justice will prevail.

Minister Johnson Smith is urging Jamaicans who are aggrieved by events overseas to make formal reports via the appropriate channels.

The US media revealed this week that a lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU, in a US Court on Wednesday seeking redress for the Jamaicans.

The ACLU says the Coast Guard seized the fishermen, set their boat on fire and shot it up.

According to the Union, the US Coast Guard held the men in secret and chained them to the exposed decks of four different Coast Guard ships.

The ACLU says the men were also denied access to shelter, basic sanitation, proper food and medical care.

Minister Johnson Smith says she’s not in a position to say whether the detention of the Jamaicans by US authorities may have breached any agreement between both countries.

Minister Johnson Smith made the comment when she was prompted by Senate President Tom Tavares-Finson to respond to a question from Opposition Senator, KD Knight.

Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, Foreign Affairs Minister and before her Senate President, Tom Tavares Finson.

Meanwhile,during discussion in the Upper House today on the issue of the fishermen who were reportedly detained, Senator Knight clashed with Opposition Senator, Robert Morgan.

The tension heightened when Senator Knight told Senator Morgan that neophytes should be quiet when he’s attempting to question a Government Minister.

Senator Morgan responded.

KD Knight, Opposition Senator and before him Robert Morgan, Government Senator.

Abka Fitz-Henley is a multiple award-winning journalist who is currently the Senior Reporter at Nationwide News Network (NNN). His primary areas of focus are Court, Crime and Parliamentary proceedings. Fitz-Henley was recently recognized in the regional celebrity magazine publication Panache as “The Breaking News Boss”. At 21 years of age, following his 1st year in media, Fitz-Henley was recognized with the Young Journalist of the year award from The Press Association of Jamaica and went on to cop one of the country’s highest recognized journalism prizes, the Journalist of the Year Award. He’s also been awarded the prestigious Corporate Jamaica Broilers Fairplay 1st place Award for investigative journalism and is the recipient of the Caribbean Blog Award for coverage of the infamous Kartel murder trial. Fitz-Henley is also the recipient of the PM Youth Award for Excellence. Over the years, he has appeared as a guest on the BBC World Service and BBC London.

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