T&T Court Rules That All Migrants, Refugees Can Be Deported

(CMC) – The Trinidad and Tobago High Court on Tuesday declared that 1951 Refugee Convention obligations do not apply and cannot be enforced in the twin island republic.

This means that all immigrants are subject to the provisions of the Immigration Act and as a result, all migrant, refugees and asylum seekers can be deported even if they have registered with United Nations High Commissioner of Refugees (UNHCR).

Justice Frank Seepersad presided over the case was brought by Yohan Jesus Rangel Dominguez who was seeking to reverse a decision by the Minister of National Security to issue a deportation order in March this year.

“The issue as to whether the process engaged in relation to the Claimant adhered to the principles of natural justice depends upon the prevailing circumstances considered against the need to ensure that there was ‘fairness’. The Claimant was interviewed, his representations were duly recorded and they were included in the report, which was presented to the Minister. In the circumstances, there is no merit in the assertion that the Claimant was denied an opportunity to be heard or that he was treated in a manner which violated the principles of natural justice,” Seepersad noted

The judge also said that the Court could asertain no identifiable reason to set aside the Minister’s decision to issue a Deportation Order.

Seepersad said that the obligations enumerated under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the principle of non-refoulement do not apply to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago as there has been no domestic incorporation.

He also declared that Section 11 of the Immigration Act is not unconstitutional as it does not offend the rule of law nor does it stand in conflict with provisions of the Constitution.