Holders of diplomatic and official passports from Dominica and Chile are now exempt from visa requirements when traveling between the respective countries due to an agreement signed between the governments of the two nations.
On Monday morning Minister for National Security, Labor and Immigration Alvin Bernard signed the agreement on behalf of the government of Dominica.
Speaking at the signing ceremony, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Careen Prevost, explained that the agreement came about at a summit between CARICOM and Chile in February, 2012.
“At the second CARICOM-Chile joint summit held in February 2012 it was agreed that in order to facilitate movement between Chile and CARICOM member states, an agreement on visa waiver exemptions for holders of diplomatic and official passports should be concluded between Chile and CARICOM member states and the meeting further agreed that this should be negotiated as soon as possible,” she said. “Subsequently the embassy submitted a draft agreement to Dominica and by Cabinet decision dated October 30th, 2013, Cabinet advised approval for the signing of this agreement.”
Ambassador of the Republic of Chile to Dominica, Eduardo Bonila, pointed out that the signing of this agreement is very important to his country.
“We have to move a lot and we have to travel a lot and most of the time we do it in the last five minutes …. it is not planned as we would like it too,” he said. “So this is a very important agreement for my country and I am very happy to be the Chilean Ambassador who is going to sign this agreement.”
Bernard remarked that 2014 marks fourteen years of relations between CARICOM and Chile.
“Since becoming a democracy in 1990 Chile has become a very active player in the international forum in various aspects of international matters. The government of Dominica views this decision very seriously and sees it as a critical aspect of cooperation between our two countries,” he said.
He added that the language barrier has hindered Dominica from taking advantage of cooperation between the two countries.
“It is important for the free movement of our officials as Ambassador Bonilla indicated,” he sated. “We need to respond to various initiatives in our aspects of development sometimes at a moment’s notice and it is important that we remove every hindrance for the movement of our officials. Today is the culmination of a number of stages and of course is the first step in the continuation and the progress of this important bilateral cooperation with the government of Chile.”
The Republic of Chile is a Spanish speaking south American country which is said to be one of the most stable and prosperous nations in that region.
In 2014 Chile’s population stood at 17,808,847, which makes it the 59th most populous country on earth.