Where is “king” Stuart Young getting his power to prevent citizens from returning to their homeland?
The question has been posed by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, as she noted that Young has mockingly been called “king” and “majesty” for behaving like he is vested with the power to grant entry and exit to the nation’s borders.
Speaking at a United National Congress (UNC) virtual meeting on Monday, she said she has no problem with the relatives of Government members returning, but every citizen must have that chance and the system must be fair to all.
She called on National Security Minister Young to answer where he gets the power and authority to prevent citizens from returning.
“It cannot be that a policy favours some. Where do you get the power from?
“Under which law do you get the jurisdiction and the power from to prevent a citizen from returning to Trinidad and Tobago?” she asked.
She said power is not in the Immigration Act, the Public Health Act or the Quarantine Act.
“Which statute in this country gives this one man the power to refuse citizens to come back home... show me where in law,” she said.
She noted when citizens raise cases in the court, exemptions are granted to them so there are no full judgments.
“Are you operating illegally by using the fear of death from blocking people?” she asked.
She criticised the lack of compassion for stranded nationals, as she noted Caribbean counties such as Barbados and Jamaica have open borders and stringent Covid policies.
The former Prime Minister further questioned whether citizens are flying into Trinidad without exemptions and allowed to enter because of their connections.
“Is it true now that once they get onto an aircraft with no exemption, once they land here, they will be let in? Because the law is very clear. You cannot deny the right of entry to a citizen who lands here,” she said.
“I’m being told people are coming on flights without the exemption and once they land you cannot send them back because they are citizens,” she added.
She also called on Young to answer why access to the computer systems at Immigration which contain flight information have been restricted.
Persad-Bissessar said after the flight manifest of Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez was leaked last year, she was told that immediately after, access to the systems was restricted to three or four junior people.
“Who is coming that we don’t know about?” she asked.