(CMR) The Government of Jamaica has come under heavy criticism from the public and a member of the parliamentary opposition after it refused entry to a ship that had approximately 40 Jamaicans on board. It was reported by the Jamaica Gleaner that the ship – Marella Discovery 2 – was nearby by the island and had sought permission from the government to return the Jamaican nationals aboard home.
According to the report, the ship had refueled and was awaiting docking clearance – however, the clearance never came and the ship left the port a day later. It is unclear what will happen to the Jamaicans on board, as the ship is set to disembark in Europe next week.
Since the news broke, several individuals have labeled the government's actions, “cold and callous” noting that these Jamaicans had a right to entry. A member of the parliamentary opposition, the spokesman on National Security Fitz Jackson, also chimed in adding that the government's handling of the matter was unfortunate.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness when pressed about the matter on Wednesday, declined to comment. However, the administration has said that it was seriously contemplating the “controlled re-entry” of Jamaicans who are stranded overseas.
Jamaica closed its borders to incoming passengers on March 24 due to the threat posed by COVID-19.