Father Franklyn Cuffy
Father Franklyn Cuffy

Catholic priest Fr. Franklyn Cuffy who was denied entry in Trinidad & Tobago because of insufficient documents says he is well on his way to getting that sorted out and he plans to return to Trinidad where he is stationed.

The Dominican priest was returning to Trinidad last week when he encountered difficulties with that country's immigration officers. He was refused entry in Trinidad and was sent back to Dominica.

"It all started on July 4, 2016 when I was asked by my Religious Congregation to go to Trinidad to replace somebody who was moving on to the States. So I left and went without any documents in Trinidad. On arrival I explained to them my situation telling them that it was an emergency but they said that I needed documentation to enter. However, after further questioning I was asked to show my return ticket. I then told them (immigration) that I was not really interested in staying in Trinidad so please give me three days to make the necessary arrangements to return," Fr. Cuffy told the SUN.

He continued: "However, they said that with your passport (emphasis- with your passport) we cannot give you less than six months to put things in place and advised me that I should apply for missionary status. I said to them that I am a Caribbean citizen why should I apply for religious status and I was not very keen on so doing. I spent my six months, travelled a few times in and out. I then came back on June 6, 2017 to Dominica to deal with World Rivers Day matters and then I went to New York for my annual medicals where I spent three weeks and returned to Trinidad where the entire process for my re-entry into Trinidad started all over again.

"They asked me if I had begun the process for my religious status and I told them yes because I applied for my parents married certificate. They got married in Trinidad in 1946 and also my second sister was born there. I have also gotten my police record from Dominica. So I was told that without the necessary documents we cannot allow you in Trinidad so I had to come to Dominica instead on June 30, 2017," the priest said.

According to him, his superiors have asked him to get his documents as soon as possible so that he can return to Barataria, St. Theresa, Trinidad where he is assigned.

"I have began the process, I was at immigration in Dominica, I have the form for the skilled certificate and things are moving smoothly. My issue is that I am a Caribbean person and they are proposing that I apply for religious status but with that you are allowed to stay in Trinidad for three years and that is what is creating some complications for us," Fr. Cuffy stated.

Fr. Cuffy is a Redemptorist of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (C.SS.R.), a community of Roman Catholic priests and lay brothers founded by St. Alfonso Maria de'Liguori at Scala, Italy, a small town near Naples, in 1732.