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Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has been actively engaged in assisting with the repatriation of 28 Jamaican fishermen who were rescued by the Colombian Coast Guard and brought to San Andres, following a fire on their vessel on Thursday, September 18, 2018.

The Foreign Minister also expressed her deep appreciation to the Colombian authorities for rescuing the fishermen last Friday and seeing to their welfare since then.

According to Minister Johnson Smith, “We have been working through our Charge d’Affaires at the Jamaican Embassy in Bogota and our Honorary Consul in San Andres, and they in turn worked with the Colombian authorities to provide the names of the men and other necessary information to assist with the process of the verification of their Jamaican nationality. This is in keeping with standard operating procedures.”

The Minister continued “The verification process has now been completed, so all 28 are now cleared for repatriation to Jamaica, but regretfully, the persons who were being treated for burns cannot be released from
medical care until Friday at the earliest, so arrangements for everyone’s return have to take that timing into consideration.”

The Foreign Minister said, “The safe and earliest possible return of the men is the immediate concern of the Government of Jamaica. We are working with the Colombian authorities to arrange for their safe return. We hope this will happen over the weekend”

The owner of the boat, who operates a commercial fishing company has also been in contact with the Foreign Ministry and maintains daily contact with the fishermen and has been keeping their families informed.