Discussions on Caricom membership ongoing

POSTED: 09/30/11 1:13 PM

“Visas are bilateral issue”

St. Maarten – Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams has said that discussions for St. Maarten to become an associate member of the Caribbean Community (Caricom). The latest communication is a letter from Caricom’s Secretary General Irwin LaRocque.

“We have received notification from the newly appointed Secretary General about St. Maarten’s request for associate membership and that he is looking forward to entertaining further discussion with St. Maarten as the process of St. Maarten’s associate membership goes along. So that as far is in progress,” Wescot-Williams said Wednesday.

“The matter of the visa requirements is something of bilateral discussions between the countries, and not so much of Caricom,” the prime minister added when asked how her government would handle membership of Caricom with the implementation of a visa requirement for Jamaicans and Guyanese – as these are two of Caricom’s largest member states.

Justice Minister Roland Duncan is on record that he does not see the restriction as a problem because Caricom member states have entry requirements for other member states. He also said that he’d be seeking discussions with the governments of both countries to carry out talks on implementing visa categories.

“We have no problem with the politician, civil servant, business man or honest tourist who wants to come here. What we are trying to avoid is having people, come, stay here and then not have any means or cause trouble,” Duncan has said.

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