The inter-island fast ferry service, L’Express des Iles [EDI], based in Guadeloupe, hosted a familiarisation trip for the Guadeloupe Customs and Immigration Departments.
In organizing the one-day excursion to Dominica, the Managing Director of L’Express des Iles, Roland Bellemare aimed to showcase Dominica’s tourism product and allow for discussion between Dominica and Guadeloupe’s Customs and Immigration personnel.
The Guadeloupe team arrived via the ferry Thursday morning and were greeted by the Agent’s [H.H.V. Whitchurch & Co. Ltd.] EDI Supervisor, Hans Victor and his team. The group was given a short tour of Trafalgar Falls, Morne Bruce and the Botanical Gardens, concluding with a Luncheon at the Fort Young Hotel with members of Dominica’s Customs & Excise and Immigration Departments: Matthew LeBlanc, Labour Commissioner, Rodrick Deschamps, Acting Comptroller of Customs & Excise, Irvin Phillip, Assistant Comptroller of Customs & Excise, Gerard Elie, Customs Officer in Charge Roseau, Inspector Stafford Vigilante, Insp. Immigration Roseau, Insp. Emmanuel James, Immigration Marigot, Corporal Franklyn Valerie, Immigration Roseau. Whitchurch’s team included Jason Whitchurch-Aird – Marketing & Business Development Manager, Peter George, Manager – Shipping & Tours, Joanne Bellot, Assistant Manager – Shipping & Tours and Hans Victor, Supervisor – L’Express des Iles.
The Luncheon was a successful conclusion to the Famtrip, with exchange between Dominican and Guadeloupian Immigrations and Customs Departments expressing issues, asking questions and at the close of the meeting, finding common ground and clarification on items of concern.
The main point of discussion was the requirements for travel in to, and out of, Dominica to Guadeloupe, and vice versa. It was recognized that Agents of L’Express des Iles play a vital role in the issuance of tickets to Dominican’s and other foreign passengers traveling on the service, into Guadeloupe and the other islands on the ferry’s route. Once the necessary documentation is clarified and requested by same, the process for travel will become easier between the two territories.
Travelling out of Dominica (Dominican/foreign passport holder) to Guadeloupe, passengers must have a valid Passport, Travel Insurance and Proof of Accommodation in Guadeloupe. French persons (Guadeloupians, etc.), must have a valid Passport or a National Identification Card (Driver’s License unacceptable) to enter Dominica. The issue of babies travelling with their mother’s also surfaced, and it is a requirement that the baby must have a valid picture identification card, whether it is a passport, or if they are registered on their mother’s passport. This is for both territories. A common concern was expired passports. Any person travelling on the EDI ferry service must hold a valid Passport.
At the close of the Luncheon it was determined that more interaction along these lines would ease the travel strains often experienced between the islands. Thanks were expressed to Bellemare and L’Express des Iles for the insightful exercise. Many of the Officers promised to come back to visit socially with their families, some even promising to return for the World Creole Music Festival.