24 Apr 2010

I think I discovered a new disease!

There is a kind of madness inflicting the PNM in the run up to this election. It is even worse than the malady that singularly inflicted the leader, since this seems to be collective and/or viral.

Under a quaint immigration law, an American was deported. The circumstances are unclear but the entire episode reeks of political motivation.

Apparently, Mr Campbell was entering Trinidad to possibly work for the UNC as a political strategist, when he was collared (held, not assaulted) at the airport and kept detained for 8 hours, then shipped out. Since Mr Campbell had not begun to work, it is doubtful at this point whether he was actually here to work, and or what his conditions of employment would be/have been.

Mr Campbell was deported in accordance with Section 8 (1) (q) of the Immigration Act, Chapter 18:01 which states, “Any person who from information or advice which in the opinion of the Minister is reliable information or advice is likely to be an undesirable inhabitant of, or visitor to Trinidad and Tobago.”

The Minister in question is the National Security Minister, one Martin Joseph who occasionally surfaces in the public eye but never in a positive light.

Joseph issued a press release which stated in part that no deportation order was issued or signed by him or an Immigration Officer.

“Rather, Mr Henry Bernard Campbell, a citizen of the United States of America, was denied entry into Trinidad and Tobago in accordance with Section 8 (1) (q) of the Immigration Act, Chapter 18:01.”

This itself is confusing, at least to me. This section states that the Minister is responsible for deportation according to information (which has to be reliable) that the immigrant or visitor is ‘undesirable’. Joseph is admitting that the visitor was deported under a section of law that only he (Joseph) is authorised to use.

So how can a man be deported if the Minister or any of his agents did not give the order?

The plot becomes a tad clearer in the aftermath

Attorney Anand Ramlogan:

Mrs Persad-Bissessar sought my intervention and I immediately contacted the Immigration Department and spoke with the officer in charge, Mr Piper, who informed me that the Immigration Department had little or no role or say or choice in the matter, as they were acting pursuant to a directive and instruction from the Minister of National Security.

“I enquired on what basis Mr Campbell was being denied entry and was told that Mr Joseph had invoked Section 8 (1) (q) of the Immigration Act, which allows him to deny entry to any person who is deemed to be an undesirable inhabitant. This is an archaic decision that is often utilised when there is a threat to national security.”

Is either Martin Joseph did or did not order the deportation of Mr Campbell.

If he did not, who did and how did s/he circumvent Joseph’s ‘authority’? If he did, what information was received, how was it deemed reliable (validation process) and where is this evidence? A reasonable explanation while not not demanded in law, would lay to rest the speculations and allegations that this is politicking at its worst.

Is like a viral disease causing madness hit the PNM overnight… maybe something like herpes or some similar thing… I think I discovered a new disease! I think I will call it PNM Parinitis, or as the common name, the Dotish Disease.