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Visa Restrictions

Travel & news discussion about the Cayman Islands

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Visa Restrictions

Postby KarenS » Wed May 24, 2006 8:12 am

From Caribbean Net News:
"Reciprocal visa arrangements between Caribbean neighbors, Jamaica and the Cayman Islands are working fine, says Charles Clifford, Cayman's Minister of Tourism Environment, Investment and Commerce.

In an interview aired on WLIB's 'The Caribbean in Five' at the weekend, Minister Clifford suggested that the Opposition party in Cayman had tried to make too much of the topic, 'but it is a non-issue at this point and we will certainly look forward to having very cordial relations with the new prime minister of Jamaica (Portia Simpson-Miller) and with her government, as we do with all other Caribbean governments.'

Portia Simpson-Miller, a 60 year-old grassroots populist, was recently elected prime minister of Jamaica when P.J. Patterson retired. She became the first woman to become president of a major Jamaican political party, the Peoples National Party, and the first woman in the nation's history to ascend to the post of Prime Minister.

Under Patterson's watch, late last year Jamaica slapped visa restrictions on nationals of the Cayman Islands shortly after the Caymanian government had introduced visa requirements for Jamaicans, who make up a sizeable portion of the local population in Cayman.

Caymanians seeking US visas are required to visit the Jamaican-based US Embassy to pursue their applications. However, according to local officials, Caymanian passport holders can travel to the US on a special waiver because of the territory's ties to its 'Mother Country', the United Kingdom.

Additionally, Caymanians who hold British passports are eligible to enter the US without the need to obtain either an entry waiver or a visitor's visa.

Minister Clifford, who was attending the recent annual Caribbean Conference on Sustainable Tourism Development in San Juan, said there is no indication that the visa requirements have had bad effects on business between the two countries.

'As you would expect when you implement a visa system, there are some issues up front, some initial problems with the implementation process (but) that's all been ironed out now and it hasn't affected travel and we have had no indication it has affected business between the two countries,' he said.

Cayman, which also has introduced requirements for visitor visas for residents of Costa Rica, El Salvador and Guatemala, has been accused of imposing the restriction on Jamaicans because of a perceived security risk and immigration clampdown, while the Jamaican move has been described as retaliatory.

The Cayman Islands, which are situated northwest of Jamaica, were once administered by Jamaica. When Jamaica became independent from the British in 1962, the Cayman Islands opted to remain under the British Crown and remain so even now."
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