Jamaican nationals encouraged to leave Russia

It’s the “fog of war.” War is chaotic and confusing. It is cruel. It draws from human beings the worst – and surprisingly often, the best. But it should never happen. It should never have been allowed it to happen. But it did, and it will be affecting all of us – even on our little island so far away from those cold Eastern European plains. Even if it’s only the price of bread. And it could be a lot worse than that…

I wrote about the tremendous anxiety (and harrowing experiences) of Jamaicans trapped in Ukraine for Global Voices. What I did not allude to in any detail was the social media outrage (whether fake or genuine) over the plight of Jamaican students there, which took place on Twitter and I understand other platforms too. The disinformation/misinformation became toxic, very confusing – and at least some of it was quite blatantly politically motivated. I guess it satisfied some social media trolls, who seemed to delight in muddying the waters. What is more, a few elements in our local media have picked up some of these narratives from social media, and are running with them and expanding on them, full tilt; to what end, I do not know.

Anyway, enough of all that. All we really need to know at this point, I would suggest, is that Jamaican nationals living in Eastern Europe are safe and are being given whatever support they need. I believe the Jamaican Government is doing its best to offer that support. The Jamaican students are now at the border with Poland, but could face a long wait and more chaotic scenes. After a harrowing ordeal, Jamaican businessman William Massias (who has been giving us regular updates via WhatsApp) and his large family have crossed and are now safely in Poland.

Now, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade is issuing a warning to Jamaicans living in Russia. I hope they will take heed and do what they can to make themselves safe, depending on their circumstances.

Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith giving a video update on the Jamaican students in Ukraine today (Sunday). The issue has kept Jamaican social media buzzing all weekend, although not in a very productive way!

Jamaican Nationals Encouraged to Leave Russia

The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) is encouraging Jamaican nationals in Russia to take precautionary measures for their safety and leave where necessary. There is indication that nationals in Russia and surrounding Eastern European countries could be impacted by the crisis occurring in the Ukraine.

According to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Honourable Kamina Johnson Smith, “We are aware of eight (8) Jamaican students, but our team has been receiving anecdotal reports of a higher number who are in Russia. Although we understand all of them are well and not experiencing disruptions, we take this opportunity to strongly urge Jamaicans in Russia, or persons who are aware of Jamaicans living in Russia, to provide the relevant contact information and location to the Consular Affairs Department here in Jamaica, and leave where possible before tension rises in that country.”

The Minister shared, “We take this opportunity to strongly urge nationals in these and surrounding countries in Eastern Europe to exercise prudence in their activities, and to take precautionary measures for their safety. These include, and are not limited to, securing safe passage to alternative locations, securing the necessary resources to do so and establishing relationships with family or friends that may be of assistance, as necessary, in ensuring their security.”

Johnson Smith added, “It is always helpful to let us know of your contact information and location when you are temporarily abroad, in the event there is need for consular services, especially during emergency situations.  In this regard you should consider providing your contact details to the Consular Affairs Department at: consular@mfaft.gov.jm or consularassistant@mfaft.gov.jm.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and its Embassy in Berlin continues to monitor the situation in Ukraine and Russia.

Leaving and fearful. I hope this matter will help Jamaicans to understand the plight of refugees around the world – millions of them – struggling and desperate, who don’t know what to expect around the next corner.

I hope the “prayer warriors” have their “prayers up.” As for me, I am not optimistic about the world in 2022.

2 thoughts on “Jamaican nationals encouraged to leave Russia

  1. Well it’s good to see the government being PROACTIVE and issuing warnings vans herds to the Jamaican citizens in Russia but knowing my people it woimztter until the proverbial shit hits the fan and then , hark, hark, they scream for help.

    We are so predictable, so unassuming, so out of touch with REAL WORLD POLITICS it is going to be another toothache this government will have to deal with despite their best efforts. Let us hope good politics will prevail and the tide turns in a positive direction and even so life in Russia will get increasingly difficult as they become the pariah of the world.


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