“Let us not squander the opportunity” – Minister Baptiste on EU visa waiver agreement

By SNO Staff

Saint Lucians are being urged to make the most out of the opportunity provided through the European Union (EU) and CARICOM agreement, which allows for free travel to EU countries.

Foreign Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste told a media conference today (June 19) that he does not wish to see a repeat of what occurred with Canada, which led to them stopping visa-free travel for locals.

Baptiste asserted that this move made by Canada was influenced largely by the behaviour of Saint Lucians, and it had nothing to do with government.

“So I am just encouraging everyone to be conscious of that fact, that our behaviour would really influence other countries in removing their visa facilities,” he said.

The ambitious minister said he would hope that one day, the Americas region will no longer require visas to travel to Canada and the United States of America.

He continued, “This new visa waiver facility is of tremendous opportunity. Let us not squander the opportunity. Let us use it as a platform for us to widen access to this world.”

He said the Schenegen Visa Waiver Agreement, as it is commonly referred to, will allow Saint Lucians to travel to any Schenegen Area for up to 90 days in a 180-day period. That means that one can travel and enter Europe twice a year and remain there for up to 90 days.

The exemption also applies to Caribbean nationals from Dominica, Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobago.

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10 comments

  1. This now reciprocal visa arrangement between St Lucia, the rest of the Caribbean and Europe was long overdue. For too long our citizens were denied access to mainland Europe while Europeans were able to roam freely in our islands with exemption. All these folks needed was just a passport and a ticket to show across our borders and they would immediately be allowed to enter our countries. We could not mimic such travel provisions since this was mainly a lopsided affair.

    The governments of the Caribbean especially ours here in St Lucia was able to skillfully negotiate a deal which will enable our people to travel freely throughout the mainly European Union without hassle. While this move must be applauded we must not belittle ourselves into thinking that Europe is doing us a favour. They are most certainly not and we must never allow ourselves to be in subservience to anyone not even our one time colonizers.We are not of secondary importance and should not cringe into submissiveness to any old foe just to appease them.

    For too long the Caribbean have exhibited servile compliance much to the detriment of our people and society at large. This obsequious sentiment we've employed for the past three hundred years have not got us anywhere. It's taken us that long to get free travel access into Europe. Prior to this we had to travel to other countries to apply for an entry clearance. This cost money, time effort and for most people a wasted trip as the embassies failed to process their applications.

    Most applicants went out of their way to complete the forms. I have heard of many cases where people dispensed with prodigious amounts of money to have their clearance forms fine-tuned by lawyers and other experts only for their applications to be turned down without good reason. Obtaining a visa to the Schengen states was was hard work for many who fancied a trip across the atlantic. Most people were apprehensive and alarmed by such trembling experiences. After much fear and trepidation not to mention palpitation one needed to proceed with extreme caution when venturing into this abyss. Our folks would be on their best behaviour beaming out the warmest smiles to anyone and everyone in the diplomatic missions.Failure was not an option as they had to get this entry clearance by any means necessary. They had plans of a grandiose nature which needed to come to fruition. They just had to get that visa all to no avail.

    Having signed that deal which will hopefully come into effect sometime soon the people of our region will be able to put the rhetoric of the past behind them to take advantage where opportunity lies. No more form filling and waiting for appointments to travel elsewhere and in most instances be turned down. Now it's a simple matter of doing what the Europeans have been doing for years namely having a passport in your possession and a return ticket-- Oh yes it has to be a return ticket because you have to show that you will be returning back to our lovely isles. Be prepared for an embarrassing wait as the immigration and border control guards put your passport through the machine over and over while they ask you impertinent questions. They will take you and your travel document apart while others look at you like you are an alien from another planet.

    That is the brutal truth about travelling to Europe without an EU passport. A lot of these border officials are clueless and ruthless when it comes to dealing with Non EU nationals. Most will tell you that they have not heard of St Lucia or the Caribbean. How can they do this job if they have not heard of our islands? What rock have they climbed from under? Their pathetic excuses leaves me to wonder what sort of cretins are being employed to perform the simple task of ascertaining whether or not to allow someone into the country/territories. If you try to reason with them or even attempt to debunk their pretensions they may interpret your action as ridicule and without a doubt give you a hard time.They are trained to do that.

    The government need to make it's presence felt by having full representation in the EU. Right now St Lucia does not have an embassy or consulate which can assist our people in times of trouble. There are more St Lucians in the EU than there are in Taiwan yet Taiwan has a full fledge embassy while there is none in the EU to look after the interests of our nationals. Our citizens should always be on their guard in Europe as they are always looking for a scapegoat to blame for the many social ills than befalls their sophisticated societies. There is a large influx of North Africans and political islamists yearning for recognition at any cost who will gladly pass on the buck when it suits them. Our people should not get caught up in their malevolence and malicious deeds. WE need to remember that Europe is all conquering and powerful and one false move could render this free travel agreement null and void.Let us explore Europe and the other benefits that comes with this visa free travel.Let us indulge in all of what this illustrious continent has to offer. Enjoy and be on our guard at all times.
    Do not let yourselves down nor your country and region for we are a wonderful people here in the Caribbean.

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  2. Would love to go to Germany to visit my cousins. Wish the flights were cheaper though.

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  3. Captain St.Lucia

    "Which allows for free travel to EU countries"...I hope they're telling the truth because my bags are packed & I am going to travel for free to France...They did say Free right?!

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  4. thanks for the opportunity traveling to EU without visa.

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  5. AB i also remember clearly that when Gordon Brown was the British prime minister he also asked for the government to change the birth certificates cause many Nigerians were being caught with St.Lucian passports trying to enter the UK.

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    • Well Nigerians are known (the world over) to be scammers and frauds.

      They are also known to abandon their countrc and resettle in other areas. So they would raise a red flag with anyone's passports.

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      • Not all Nigerians are A B... We must not put some bad apples with all the good apples. The world is full of trickery and scandal. I have some wonderful Nigerian friends and we get along just fine. There are fraudsters everywhere mate. We just have to be careful with whom we do business and allow access to our personal information...

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  6. Jokers!!!

    Baptiste, have you forgotten the many requests made to the Saint Lucian Government by the Canadian Authourities in regards to the lack of security with our passports?
    What did the government of the day do about it?
    NOTHING!!!!

    You have forgotten how easy it was for non-nationals to get hold of our passports, leave for Canada, commit crimes, then deported. And only to have a name change only to do the same thing?
    Have you forgotten all of this?

    Aren't you aware that this prompted an overhaul in the issuance of Birth-certificates and also the implementation of MACHINE READABLE PASSPORTS?

    What a classic "Blaming the people" tactic and not THE GOVERNMENT OF SAINT LUCIA.

    SHAME ON YOU, SIR!

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    • Sir I do agree that government didn't pay due diligence in this matter but I do think WE must share in this blame taking. Several of us (born and bred St. Lucians)went to Canada and what did we do? Apply for amnesty . . . I have family members who did just that. We took advantage (not in a positive way) of the opportunity and now we are paying for it.

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