"Government's Unawareness of Jamaican's Release from Qatari Prison Worrying" - Bartlett
Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade, Mr. Edmund Bartlett, says he finds worrying, a report by one of the daily newspapers that the Government of Jamaica was unaware of Tuesday's release of the Jamaican who had been languishing in a Qatari prison some 24 hours after the fact despite the prominence and public interest that have surrounded the case.
Mr Bartlett said: "I find it surprising and quite worrying to say the least, that the Government, as reported by one of our daily newspapers was unaware of Paul Stephens' release from prison in Qatar, in light of the degree of interest and prominence the case had attracted. With the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, virtually 24 hours after Stephens' release, indicating that it is yet to receive any official news of the release, it raises questions as to the effective and timely coordination and dispatch of pertinent communique and related activities between the ministry and our various embassies and missions abroad."
Bartlett outlined: "The operations of our consular services must now be under the microscope as it betrays a lack of connectivity and optimal efficiency in service to Jamaicans at home and abroad for information as basic as the release of Mr. Stephens to have gone unacknowledged by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Jamaica has an embassy in Kuwait which serves our interests in the middle east, so it is quite puzzling that there would have been such a delay in the dispatch of communique between the embassy in Kuwait and the ministry here in Kingston."
The Opposition Spokesman says the Government's ignorance of Tuesday's development in Qatar a clear 24 hours after the fact, may well be indicative of what some have considered an inadequate display of interest and a hands-off approach on the part of the Government in the entire matter, notwithstanding letters it would have dispatched to Qatar.
Mr. Bartlett said: "The time has come for us to recognize that the interests and well-being of Jamaicans everywhere, regardless of the circumstances in which they find themselves, should be of concern to the Government, and that the Jamaican state has an obligation to its citizens in foreign countries to advance their interests and protect their rights."