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Discriminated against at Piarco

Published: 
Saturday, December 2, 2017

I have been a Canadian citizen for 43 years. I was born in Guyana and I love my Guyanese heritage. My husband was born in Trinidad; he is also a Canadian citizen. We always travel together with Canadian passports. I have been visiting Trinidad (a country I love) every three to four months for a maximum of ten to 12 days, for the past 24 years with no problems.

October 25, 2017 was my most recent visit to Trinidad on Caribbean Airlines. We got to Trinidad on time at 5 am and all went well. I was interviewed by the Immigration Officer who questioned me about my visit.

The thing the officer stressed on most was the fact that I am a Guyanese. I was born in Guyana. The officer said to me: “You are supposed to have a visa to enter Trinidad”. My husband asked her “Why a visa?”

The officer answered with which seemed to be an attitude of scorn, “But she is a Guyanese; I will let her go this time but remember next time she will have to have a visa. I felt discriminated against.

This officer should be aware that Canadians do not need a visa to enter Trinidad.

I have many Trinidadian family and friends. We love each other. We get along great. Before this interview with the officer, I used to hear whispers that Trinidadians do not like Guyanese and vice versa. I never thought I would ever witness it. This kind of abuse has to top now!

I would like the officer to know that Guyanese are people too. We are humans that deserve to be treated with compassion and respect just like everybody else. We are not of a lower class. We all should be so proud of our heritage.

I feel angry, embarrassed and humiliated from this negative experience, one that I will never forget. I strongly recommend that this officer get proper immigration training to improve her conduct and work performance.

ANGRY AND DISAPPOINTED,
SHAM ASSICK-SINGH