OECS shows concern for Haiti, Cuba in Caricom Cricket World Cup visa
- Submitted by: admin
- 01 / 16 / 2007
by Nikisha Smith
Members of the OECS Authority have lamented that it was unfortunate that nationals of Haiti and Cuba have to present a Special Caricom Visa to visit countries in the Single Domestic Space established for ICC Cricket World Cup 2007.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts/Nevis Dr. Denzil Douglas stressed the need for the visas saying that Cricket World Cup is one of the biggest events to be hosted in the region and member territories should not believe ourselves immune to the threat of terrorism.
As a result, he said, hosting countries have to do everything within their power to ensure maximum security of the region.
Douglas said it was not so much about a terrorist threat where Haiti was concerned. He said the region had to be vigilant about the threat of human trafficking and the Caricom region had to be concerned because the games allow for that opportunity to take shape.
"This is something that we condemn and something that we will do all in our power to prevent," said Douglas.
Having provided reasons for visa requirements for Haiti, Douglas said that the situation with Cuba was unfortunate.
"Cuba has done quite a bit with the Caribbean countries; we have excellent relationships. I think it is not possible to measure the enormous support that we have received from Cuba in terms of our own human resource," he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of Dominica Charles Savarin concurred saying that under normal circumstances Cubans do not require to have a visa to visit Dominica.
Douglas said, "There are certain other specific concerns with regard to Cuba, not necessarily terrorist threat or anything of that kind but other specific concerns."
He denied that it had any connection to the U.S embargo placed on the country saying that it was done after consultation and looking at the wider picture with respect to border security.
Unlike other visa requiring nations, special arrangements were made to expedite the process for Cubans. Douglas said that theirs would be mainly a speedy documentation processing procedure and the regular fees would be waived.
The visa agreement will be in effect between 1 Feb., and 15 May to cover the actual dates of the Cricket World Cup games from 5 March to 28 April.
The 10 nations participating in the Single Domestic Space are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St Kitts & Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines and Trinidad & Tobago.