USVI visa waiver likely for Caricom nationals

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – There has been bi-partisan support in Washington for a visa-waiver for nationals of the Caribbean Community (Caricom) visiting the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), Governor John P De Jongh has said.

“I have the support of the House to include the Republicans and Democrats, so now it’s just the right vehicle to get the legislation passed,” De Jongh told journalists on the final day of the Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO) State of the Industry Conference in Martinique.

At that event, visa requirements were highlighted as a hindrance to the expansion of regional tourism.

De Jongh said he doesn’t know how soon the regime would be implemented, but pointed to the pace at which the wheels of the US Congress turn.

The governor is, however, confident of a positive outcome having already had discussions on the subject with officials from the US Department of Homeland Security “to come up with a regime which they will feel comfortable with.”

“We have written the Bill and our delegate supports it,” he added.

The USVI consists of St Thomas, St Croix and St John which are still under US rule, but the governor is convinced that making travel easier for Caricom countries will be beneficial to the territories.

“We recognise that with respect to sports tourism, sailing events and shopping, the region presents tremendous opportunity,” De Jongh told regional journalists.

Caricom nationals would still require a visa to travel to the US mainland and other US territories.


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