By Nerissa Golden
BRADES, Montserrat (GIU) -- Support from the British High Commission is available to Montserratians and British nationals no matter where they are, says Tom Regan, acting head of the Governor’s Office in Montserrat.
Regan made the comment following the recent involvement by the British High Commission in Kingston to assist fisherman Kenrick Fenton, a Montserratian who had been held in Jamaica since early October without charges being laid.
Director of Regional Affairs and Trade Claude Hogan recently returned from Jamaica where he had been negotiating for Fenton’s release from a detention centre there. Hogan said Fenton had not identified himself as a Montserrat national, but told officials he was from Antigua. This was the reason that although he’d been in Jamaican custody since last October, Montserrat was unaware that a national was in trouble.
Since 21 December 2012, Hogan through the Office of the Premier and with the support of other local agencies worked with the British High Commission to confirm Fenton’s identification and begin the process to repatriate him to Antigua, where he now resides.
“This was a good example of team work” between the Office of the Deputy Governor, Royal Montserrat Police Service, Office of Premier and Governor’s Office,” Regan noted. He added that a person travelling with a BOTC passport is entitled to exactly the same level of consular assistance from the nearest British Mission (i.e. High Commission or Embassy) as a full British citizen.
“For example, a Montserratian and a full British citizen caught up in a tsunami on the other side of the world can expect the same level of consular support, tailored to their individual requirements. A Montserratian imprisoned overseas can expect to receive a visit from their local consular official within 24 hours of the British mission being notified of the incarceration,” explained Regan. “The delay in the case of Mr Fenton was in large part because he did not identify himself as a Montserratian.”
BOTC passport holders are encouraged to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office website prior to travelling abroad to check for any alerts and to have the details on the closest British High Commission at www.gov.uk/fco
Fenton had been reported as lost at sea with six other fishermen from Antigua. He is expected to return to Antigua within the week once the Jamaican authorities complete his processing.