Families coming to the Caribbean for the ICC Cricket World Cup are getting free visas for those under 12 years. This is one of the decisions coming out of a special meeting of Caribbean Tourism Ministers and officials responsible for security of the upcoming tournament.
“We have heard the appeals for an ease for families and recognise that this would be an important incentive to get the CARICOM Visa,” says Barbados’ Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Mia Mottley, who is chair of the CARICOM Sub Committee responsible for security for Cricket World Cup.
The tourism ministers were brought up to date on the security arrangements for the world’s third-largest sporting event and took the opportunity to share the concerns that have been raised in their industry, particularly on the implementation of the CARICOM Visa.
“In light of those representations and based on the logistics involved, we have recommended that the effective date of the Single Domestic Space should be moved back to February 1 instead of January 15,” said the Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados.
This new date is two weeks later than the January 15 target set earlier for the cricket host countries and Dominica to operate special border regulations requiring the issuing of a CARICOM Visa to citizens of designated countries.
“The Bureau of the Heads of Government made it absolutely clear that they are not making any changes to structure to the visa regime but that we would defer the start until the first of February,” said Mottley.
Speaking to the media after a day-long meeting on Thursday with Caribbean Tourism Ministers, Mottley said that the extension was intended as a good faith gesture to the tourism stakeholders who needed a little more time to ensure that all those who needed visas would be facilitated.
“We have to be sensitive to the concerns of nine different nations, and at the end of the day, you are not seeking to balance the interest of one country, but the interests of nine different countries, and, therefore, there has inevitably to be a framework that accommodates those interests,” says Minister Mottley.
Since that meeting, it been confirmed that there will be a waiver of visa fees for children 12 and under accompanying their parents to the Caribbean during the operation of the Single Domestic Space.
The Caribbean Community, CARICOM, has agreed to manage the host countries including Dominica as one Single Domestic Space with visitors requiring a special CARICOM Visa.
This would make for hassle-free travel from country to country since passports would be stamped at the first point of entry in the Single Domestic Space, and from hence only E/D forms would need to be presented at the border control points.