Amidst reports that a rejection order against American strategist Bernard Campbell was withdrawn, UNC Political Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has given Minister of National Security Martin Joseph seven days to explain why Campbell was denied entry to T&T last week. She made the request via a letter which was made public to the media during a news conference yesterday. Speaking to reporters, Persad-Bissessar said the permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security informed her yesterday that Campell's rejection order was withdrawn, and he was free to apply for a work permit.
"The permanent secretary spoke with me and indicated that they were prepared to withhold what they calling a rejection order and allow Campbell to enter the country. I asked them to put it in writing," Persad-Bissessar said. She added that the permanent secretary also assured her that once Campbell applied, the application would be processed. She said, however, the decision was "an attempt to do damage control in what was a blatant act of harassment and intimidation." Persad-Bissessar said under the existing laws, Campbell could work in T&T for 30 days without a permit. "I am of the view that in circumstances he is not obliged to apply for the permit. Campbell, under our laws, is allowed to work for 30 days without a permit.
"What I want to know is the reason they rejected him in the first place. It wasn't about work permit requirements," she contended. Persad-Bissessar said Campbell was denied entry according to Section 8 (1) (Q) of the Immigration Act, Chap 18:01, which prohibited entry to undesirable visitors. She said Minister Joseph must explain why the decision was taken. Asked whether Campbell would return to T&T, Persad-Bissessar said she was not sure. She said there were also security concerns to consider. Meanwhile, UNC Chairman Jack Warner said the decision by the minister to revoke the rejection order was a case of "too little too late." He said the damage to T&T's reputation was already done.