Information Minister says government received asylum request from Haitians
Information Minister Robert Morgan has indicated that the government received a request for asylum, from a group of Haitians who arrived in Portland, on July 10.
The request letter was submitted by an attorney, on Friday.
In responding to comments on social media, Mr. Morgan pointed out that there is some misunderstanding as to how the asylum process works.
He said the government cannot force anyone to apply for asylum, nor can it force any illegal migrant to stay in Jamaica.
He said once a person applies for asylum there are standard protocols based on international agreements that have to be activated.
These are not arbitrary decisions, rather they are based on internationally agreed and accepted protocols.
The 37 Haitians who are the latest group to enter the country illegally include, 24 men, five women and 8 children.
24 of them were recently taken before the court, charged with illegal entry, fined $7,000 each, and told they would be sent back home.
Human rights lobby group Freedom Imaginaries, met with the Haitians in St. Mary, and subsequently, through a lawyer, wrote a letter to the government, requesting asylum.
Representative of Freedom Imaginaries, and attorney-at-law, Marcus Goffe explained that the Haitians fear persecution, if they return to their home country, which is experiencing political and economic crises.
Mr Goffe said the aim, is to prevent the deportation of the Haitians, and have government instead, give them access to protection and support services.