Guyana to meet legislative requirements for World Cup special visas before February 1
-- Two other CWC Bills for Parliament tomorrow

Kaieteur News
January 30, 2007

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Guyana is likely to enact the necessary legislation to facilitate visitors arriving here with CARICOM Special Visas for Cricket World Cup (CWC) when the system takes effect from February 1.

Minister of Home Affairs, Clement Rohee will tomorrow, table three pieces of legislation which include, the Caribbean Community Special Visas Agreement Bill, the Pre-Clearance ICC Cricket World Cup Bill, along with a bill to amend the Immigration Act to allow for the sharing of passenger information with other countries involved in the single domestic space.

Kaieteur News understands that the opposition parties in Parliament will throw support behind the passage of the three bills as was done during the passage of the CWC Sunset Legislation.

Government will be keen to have the support of the Opposition, particularly since the administration plans to suspend the Standing Orders to allow the three bills to be taken through all of its stages during tomorrow's sitting.

The new visa system will take effect from February 1 to May 15 and seeks to create a single domestic space between Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago.

Nationals from Canada, France, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Italy, South Africa, Spain, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, United States, and all CARICOM Nationals, except Haiti, are not required to use the special visa.

In addition, air-to-sea and sea-to-air transfers and cruise ship passengers arriving in port and moving directly from one terminal to the other will not require the CARICOM Special Visa.

According to CARICOM, nationals of countries who would normally need visas, but who already enjoy a form of legal status valid on February 1 - conferred by any of the 10 countries which form the Single Domestic Space - will also not require a CARICOM Special Visa.

The Pre-Clearance ICC Cricket World Cup Bill specifically allows for unambiguous travel of Teams' Officials Media and Sponsors (TOMS) during the event.

Under the proposed legislation the Minister will have to establish a Pre-Clearance area at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport to facilitate TOMS, who would normally be subjected to the country's entry rules and regulations.

The third bill that will be laid before the House is an amendment to the Immigration Act to allow for the implementation of the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS). This system is being set up to allow for the countries in the single space to share passenger information, prior to the arrival of a passenger in any one of the countries.

CARICOM Secretary General, Edwin Carrington last year expressed some concerns at the pace at which the respective host nations were moving to implement the necessary legislation to facilitate the CARICOM Special Visas.

The new visa requirement allows the 10 nations to operate as a single nation hosting the CWC. It has prompted criticisms and astonishment from European nations and more recently Pakistan.
Diplomats to be accredited, government officials and persons providing technical assistance to Member States, and representatives of International and Regional Organisations will be issued with a Special Entry Permit.

A CARICOM Special Visa does not permit a person to work or study. Persons requiring a work permit or student visa should apply directly to the competent authorities in the relevant Member State. Work Permits or Student Visas must be issued for a minimum period of six months during this timeframe.

The visa fee of US$100 or Euro 80 will be waived for children 12 and under, Non-accredited diplomats or persons traveling on diplomatic or official passports, Cuban Nationals, Seamen and airline crew entering to join vessels/aircraft, and TOMS and their spouses and children.

The CARICOM Special Visas are being issued in Australia, Canada, India, United States, United Kingdom, Europe, China and Venezuela.