The imposition of visas to enter Canada for nationals of St. Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines will be discussed at the 56th meeting of the OECS Authority in Roseau, Dominica from Nov. 22-23, 2012, according to a press release from the Office of the Prime Minister in St. Lucia.
On September 12, 2012, the Canadian government imposed visa requirements for St. Lucia and St. Vincent mainly due to what it said were “unreliable travel documents” being used by nationals of the two Caribbean countries.
The Canadian government further stated: “In particular, criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports…. There has also been an unacceptably high number of asylum claims from St. Lucia and St. Vincent, with about one and a half percent and three percent of the population of these countries making asylum claims in Canada over the past five years.”
In response, the St. Lucia government said it was “disappointed and dismayed” by the decision and that the Canadian government did not give it an opportunity to address the concerns of “unreliable travel documents” allegedly held by some Saint Lucians.
Other matters to be discussed at the OECS meeting include the establishment of the Economic Affairs Council and the further development of the OECS Assembly, the press release stated.
The 56th meeting of the OECS Authority will be preceded by a special meeting of the Monetary Council, and a joint meeting of the Monetary Council and the OECS Authority on November 22, 2012.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister, Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, leaves the island today, Wednesday 21, 2012 to attend the meeting.
Prime Minister Anthony will be accompanied by Dr. June Soomer, St. Lucia’s Ambassador to the OECS and CARICOM, and Embert St. Juste, director of research and policy in the Ministry of Finance.
Dr. Anthony is expected to be back on island on Friday, November 23, 2012.
Minister of External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation, Alva Baptiste, will act as prime minister in his absence.
Please like our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/stlucianewsonline for instant updates when stories are published here.