Jamaicans and other CARICOM nationals now have a simple way to file complaints when they encounter problems such as moving freely within the region.
A complaints form is now at immigration desks at most airports within CARICOM, including here in Jamaica.
The complaints mechanism is one of the outcomes of the landmark Shanique Myrie case.
It’s a fairly simple form.
Just two pages and enough space to ventilate the complaint.
The form asks whether you’ve been refused entry or treated poorly at border points, among other things.
CARICOM nationals are automatically allowed a six month stay in other member states.
That’s unless the state can prove that the visitor would be a burden on the public purse, or is deemed “undesirable” or poses a threat to national security.
Wanya Illis is CARICOM’s Project Coordinator for Treaty and Competitiveness.
There are other issues that CARICOM nationals have been reporting, such as difficulty setting up a business.
These are all problems that CARICOM nationals shouldn’t encounter in other member states.
Under the Single Market and Economy, all CARICOM nationals are to be given the same privileges as other citizens in member countries.
But it doesn’t always work that way.
In the past, aggrieved nationals were left to fend for themselves, with disputes often ending up in the courts.
The new form allows CARICOM to address the issues directly and be in a position to communicate results to complainants within eight weeks.
The form is available on CARICOM’s website, caricom-dot-org and at major airports and Ministries of Immigration or Labour throughout the region.