Guyana ready to work with regional task force on security for CWC 2007
Stabroek News
November 18, 2006

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Guyana is in an excellent position to work with the regional task force regarding security for the Cricket World Cup 2007 tournament.

This view was expressed on Wednesday by Chair of the ad hoc sub-committee of Caricom ministers of national security and law enforcement on security matters pertaining to the CWC 2007, Mia Mottley.

Responding to a question about Guyana being ranked low in terms of security for the ICC CWC 2007 tournament, Mottley told reporters at a media briefing at Le Meridien Pegasus Hotel that she wished to allay the fears that this country was ranked low in relation to security. "I say that without fear of contradiction."

Mottley, Barbados Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Affairs and Development, said further that she wished to allay the fears of Caribbean citizens as to the state of security readiness. She said that Guyana and other CWC host venues were ready to work with the regional security task force. Even though Barbados has sufficient personnel to police the island, she said that the country would nevertheless tap into the resources of the supplementary force to assist in the hosting of the final match.

Meanwhile, Caricom governments have agreed to a common Caricom visa policy which would enable a single domestic space for CWC 2007 in the Caribbean from January 15, 2007 to May 15, 2007. They would also create a supplementary security force of 400 men and women who will move into the various territories when CWC games are being held.

The Heads are due to sign the visa agreement in the next few days and the respective host countries are to pass regulations to recognize the Caricom visa agreement.

Announcing the agreement by the Caricom Heads of Government to use a common Caricom visa policy for the CWC 2007 championship, Mottley, flanked by Caricom Secretary General Edwin Carrington and Barbados Minister of Tourism and International Transportation Noel Lynch, said that the visa policy would allow for a secure space among the nine host countries plus Dominica.

Mottley spoke during a break in the Caricom ministers of transportation meeting dealing with arrangements for the hosting of the CWC 2007 tournament.

Having a single domestic space means that all Caricom nationals travelling within the ten countries would not have to have their passports stamped at points of entry but they would be required to travel with their passports for identification purposes as well as to respond to any immigration queries that might arise.

However, persons coming from outside of the ten countries would be required to clear their first port of entry after which would be considered a domestic traveller for subsequent matches in the other host venues.

In the creation of the single domestic space, Mottley said that through a common Caricom visa and through the advance passenger information system, vessels whether maritime or aircraft would be required to submit their passengers' manifestos before their arrival for vetting of passengers against the names of persons on the established international and regional data base to make determinations as to persons who would be precluded from entry.

Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) and Jamaica would issue the visas outside the region. Jamaica and its consulates would issue in Miami, New York and Toronto; T&T would issue at its High Commission in New Delhi, India and would be making a facility available at its consulate in Sydney, Australia; and Barbados would issue at its high commission in London. These visas would be issued from December 2006 at a cost of US$100. Each of the host venues including Dominica would have the capacity to issue visas from January 2007.

Those exempted from requiring visas include all Caricom nationals with the exception of Haiti, which still has to be processed; all persons who have status within Caricom states as permanent residents, immigrant status, work permit, student or visitors visa, all provided before January 15, 2007; and all citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Spain, the Netherlands, the USA and the UK and their dependent territories, associates states and departments; and Caricom associate members. In terms of test playing nations this means that visitors from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Australia, New Zealand and Zimbabwe would require visas.

Cruise ships

Persons on cruise ships which would not be in port for 24 hours would receive a Caricom day pass but "floating hotels" would require visas as if they were staying in a hotel on land. Persons who wish to remain in countries beyond May 15 would have to request permission from those countries. Mottley said that all who have applied for tickets would be informed shortly of their visa requirements via mass e-mails which would be posted in a few days time.

Where visa requirements exist, she said, the region's ministries of foreign affairs would give appropriate notification as well as reason for the suspension for the four months since "this type of security is absolutely imperative if we are to assure our citizens that in the creation of a single domestic space we are not compromising our security in every respect."

The single domestic space would start from January 15 instead of March to give the respective agencies the time to work the system in and to ensure if there are difficulties or obstacles that there is time to improve on it and to remove those obstacles prior to the commencement of CWC. Citizens are asked to provide feedback.

In brief remarks, Secretary General Carrington noted that the single domestic space was an important part of the region's integration process. "It is a stroke of history that the matter which first brought us together as a region - cricket - is now taking us a crucial step forward in terms of the coordination of our activities in the community."

He said that the regional integration process so far was built on economic and functional cooperation and foreign policy coordination and the security cooperation dimension was now an added pillar. (Miranda La Rose)