A member of a Palestinian delegation travelling from St Vincent to Panama was released yesterday morning after being detained in Trinidad since Saturday, according to the Trinidad Guardian.
The delegation comprising of nine Palestinian representatives were allowed passage after the Prime Minister St Vincent, Ralph Gonsalves, intervened.
The Palestinian members had received an invitation to visit St Vincent from Gonsalves. Although they had passed through Trinidad and Tobago a week before with only some minor issues, it was only on return to Panama via Trinidad, that one member of their party was prevented from travelling further.
“We’re told that other international persons were also involved in speaking to him,” said Hafeez Khan of the Muslim Roundtable, referring to the questioning of the delegation member.
He also spoke of rumours that officials from Trinidad had written to St Vincent advising them not to allow any more Palestinians through the border. It was only following the intervention of Gonsalves that the delegation was allowed to travel back through the country
Khan said that the Palestinian Ambassador to Venezuela was disappointed at the turn of events, and highlighted the need for Trinidad and Tobago to take a position on the Palestinian conflict.
“From what occurred it seems Trinidad and Tobago authorities are toeing the US line and reacting to the US Trump administration’s moving of the US embassy to Jerusalem. But the United Nations has not done this [recognise Jerusalem as an Israeli capital].”
“The Muslim community here would therefore like to meet foreign affairs minister to understand what problems there may be and what requirements are necessary if Palestinians have to pass through Trinidad and Tobago,” he concluded.
There is strong public support for the recognition of Palestinian statehood, as was evident in October of this year when members of groups in the Caribbean including Barbados, Cuba, Guyana, Jamaica, Martinique, Saint Lucia, Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela, condemned “the refusal of certain Caribbean countries to recognise the legitimate right of the people of Palestine to sovereign statehood”.
Despite growing support for Palestinians, Israel has continued to play a major role in militarising the region, particularly armed military juntas.