Region could begin issuing CARICOM visas in December – Barbados Minister
-- 400-strong security force to be set up
By Tusika Martin
November 16, 2006
A supplementary security force comprising 400 persons will be created within the CARICOM community to move into each territory during the Cricket World Cup 2007 games.
This is according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs of Barbados, Mia Mottley who also announced that the Region has established a Common C aricom Visa Policy.
The Barbadian Deputy Prime Minister is currently in Guyana meeting with Ministers of Transportation as the Caribbean heightens preparations for the Region's hosting of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007.
During a press briefing last evening, Mottley pointed out that the final communication from Heads of Governments of the Caribbean Community was received yesterday in relation to the agreement on the C aricom Visa Policy.
She noted that over the last few months countries have been seeking to put arrangements in place which will allow for a secure space among the nine host countries for CWC, as well as Dominica.
Dominica, she said, had agreed in July of this year at the Heads of Government Conference to be part of the overall arrangements for Cricket World Cup.
In July, Prime Minister Manning had announced the establishment of a single domestic space for CWC.
This means that all persons travelling within the nine host countries and Dominica will have the opportunity to do so without having to have their passports stamped at points of entries.
The concession will only be tolerated during January 15 to May 15, 2007.
“In relation to persons coming from outside of those 10 countries they will be required to clear their first port of entry and if they are coming to Trinidad and Tobago for example their passport will be stamped; if however they are going on to a subsequent match in Antigua then they will be considered a domestic traveller having already cleared that first port of entry,” Mottley noted.
She said that with the creation of the single domestic space the community has taken security measures to a higher standard.
According to Mottley, because security had to be taken to a higher level, the Region sought to do so in two respects.
One was through the Common C aricom Visa and through the use of the advance passenger information system which will require vessels, whether they be maritime or aircraft, to be able to submit passenger manifest before arrival.
“We would have been able to vet the passenger manifest against the names of persons and established international databases and regional databases to be able to make determinations as to persons who would be precluded from entry into that single domestic space,” Mottley added.
She added that a Regional Task Force will be established to assist with security during the games.
“We anticipate that every country in the region will use it because what we are doing is creating a supplementary force of 400 men and women who will move into each territory when there are games,” she added.
Mottley pointed out that Barbados, despite its sufficient numbers of police, will utilise the Regional Task Force.
“…we believe that with the pressure of the finals that the additional personnel from the Security Task Force will assist us,” she said.
With the Common C aricom Visa, Mottley noted, it was agreed that Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica would issue those visas outside of the region on behalf of the 10 countries.
“Jamaica will issue the Common C aricom Visa at its consulates in Miami, New York and Toronto. Trinidad and Tobago will issue the visas at its embassy in New Delhi, India and would be making special arrangements to open up a facility in Sydney, Australia, attached to its honorary consulate there. Barbados would issue its visas at its High Commission in London on behalf of the Region for a number of countries,” the Barbadian Deputy Prime Minister said.
The policy, which has been enunciated by the Heads of Government, will permit all persons coming to the Caribbean community in respect to the nine Cricket World Cup countries plus Dominica to obtain a Common C aricom Visa.
All persons who are citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, United States of America, United Kingdom and all of the dependent territories, associated states and departments of those countries do not require that visa.
The visa policy, Mottley added, will allow countries to be able to adhere to one of the objectives of ensuring a greater level of security within the single domestic space from January 15 to May 15, 2007.
“We have also agreed that the cost of the visa would be US$100 and as of tomorrow (today) arrangements will go in place for us to begin the process of being able to issue those visas from December 2006,” Mottley.
Persons who are on cruise ships that will not be on port for more than 24 hours, she stated, will receive a Caricom Day Pass after the appropriate vetting has been done of the manifest.