Duncan confirms Jamaicans, Guyanese will need visas

POSTED: 03/22/11 12:31 PM

St. Maarten – Justice Minister Roland Duncan says that Guyanese and Jamaicans should tell their loved ones to begin checking with airlines, Dutch embassies and honorary consulates if they should have a visa to come to St. Maarten. The Council of Ministers took a decision “about a month ago” to add the two countries to the “positive list” of nations that require a visa to come here.

Duncan was not able to give a specific date for when the requirement would take effect stating only, “There is a legal process to be followed. We have informed the Kingdom partners, including Curacao and Aruba and we are still busy informing other parties like the airlines.”

The Minister first announced the list of countries that need visas would be expanded during a Central Committee meeting of Parliament on March 10, but did not say then which countries were being added. He confirmed Monday that the list will now include Jamaica and Guyana, based on the decision of the Council of Ministers.

The change is not a quick procedure as the island’s positive list must be synchronized with the negative list the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs maintains for the Dutch Caribbean and the lists that Curacao and Aruba have. The list of the Dutch Ministry still gives Guyanese and Jamaicans visa-free access to St. Maarten.

Duncan has also placed the matter of visa requirements in the context of the coming full implementation of the Franco/Dutch Treaty. The implementation had been delayed because of the breakup the Government of Netherlands Antilles had delayed giving their approval. When plans moved forward to dismantle the body the Dutch Government ratified the treaty.

Guyanese and Jamaicans are reportedly already concerned by the coming implementation, but Duncan has to ease those fears.

“Yes there will be requirements to enter the country, but we will not make it more difficult for people to visit the island,” Duncan said.

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