Where are we heading?

I want to report a highly insulting incident which happened with me when I arrived at the Piarco Airport by LI-727 from Grenada.

In Grenada, Protocol had checked me but no immigration form was given while checking in; I was brought through the VIP Lounge for departure. On the plane when I asked for a form, the air hostess said there was no form. Therefore, when I landed, I had not filled out the immigration form.

There was no Protocol to receive me on arrival at Piarco Airport. I went to the Immigration desk to look for the form; there was none. I went to the diplomatic queue for immigration clearance and mentioned the same to the counter lady who gave me a form, no doubt, but said I could not fill out the form there as that could disturb her and asked me to move out to facilitate other passengers.

I requested if I could stand at a side and fill up the form. She refused and asked me to go to the other side. When I went around, I found a “No Entry” barricade and had to come back.

At that point, a man from another Immigration counter shouted at me, pointing his finger at the Immigration desk to go fill out the form. I went to him and asked him to tone down his voice as there were many people standing, and introduced myself. He squarely blamed me for not filling out the form. However, I said I could not get the form anywhere, not even on my arrival, how then was I to be blamed? He repeated it was my responsibility to fill the form.

When I said that I found his attitude strange, he replied that Trinidad was a strange country. When I said that I knew this country well as I had been living here for over four years and represented a sovereign government, he said your country had been misrepresented.




At that point, I saw no virtue in continuing the argument. I picked up my bag and went to the Immigration desk and filled the form. I came back to the Diplomatic line where a group of airline crew was standing, and the same man was arguing with the air hostess about why she had no form to give on the aircraft. I pointed out even then, there was no form on arrival, what would passengers do?

He left the place and disappeared in an office nearby. The lady who had been curt to me also left and was replaced by another person. I waited for my turn and approached the counter again.

All this happened at 2.30 p.m. on Friday. It makes me feel that if this is the way visitors are greeted on their arrival to Trinidad, where passengers are not supplied with Immigration forms at any point and, on the contrary, are subjected to insults, then where are we heading?

 

Malay Mishra

High Commissioner of India

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