Minister without portfolio in the National Security Ministry, Senator Matthew Samuda, is seeking to explain why many journalists were barred from interviewing the 207 people who returned to the island yesterday.

The passenger flights into the island yesterday represent the second and third flights into the island under the government’s controlled re-entry initiative.

Mr Samuda says journalists were barred to protect the privacy of the returnees and also because the section of the airport they used, is a very private area.

He however committed to hold consultations with media stakeholders to establish protocols on how to cover these events.

He also says those who returned yesterday were well fed, appropriately accommodated and did not have to endure any long wait.

Matthew Samuda, Minister without portfolio in the National Security Ministry,speaking last evening on Nationwide @5.

In the meantime, the Opposition People’s National Party, PNP, is also taking issue with media workers being barred from interviewing the Jamaicans who returned to the island yesterday.

In a statement, Opposition Spokesman on Information, Julian Robinson, describes the move to block some journalists, as an ‘unacceptable and unnecessary blot on Jamaica’s excellent ranking on the global press freedom index’.

He notes that the nation relies on the media to inform people on such matters, which are of public interest.

Mr Robinson says barring the media, suggest that the government has something to hide.

He says it’s important that the public trust the government especially during a time of crisis.