Statement of UK’s Home Secretary on possible visa requirement for Eastern Caribbean countries

UK Home Secretary Alan Johnson

Today my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (David Miliband) and I are announcing the final stage of the UK’s first global review of visa regimes in relation to the seven countries of the Eastern Caribbean – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

A visa regime is a very effective immigration, crime and security control measure. As part of our overseas defences our Visa Waiver Test helps us determine whether our visa regimes are in the right places. Travellers from every country beyond the European Economic Area and Switzerland were measured against a range of criteria including illegal immigration, crime and security concerns. The Test has been taken forward in close collaboration with other Departments across Whitehall. New full visa regimes were introduced on Bolivia, Lesotho, South Africa and Swaziland, along with a partial regime on Venezuela, in 2009.

Having initially considered the Eastern Caribbean states on a regional basis, we decided to examine them individually to ensure any potential regimes would be aligned correctly. Our evaluation highlighted a number of concerns with two countries, Dominica and St Lucia.

We recognise that we have close historic, economic and political ties with Dominica and St Lucia and are aware that the introduction of a visa regime would be a significant step. It is a decision we do not take lightly. As a result we will now enter a six month period of detailed dialogue with the Governments concerned to examine what actions will be taken to address our concerns and mitigate the need for a visa regime to be introduced. During this period, Dominica and St Lucia will need to demonstrate a genuine commitment to put into effect credible and realistic plans, with clear timetables, to reduce the risks to the UK, and begin implementing these plans by the end of the dialogue period.

Additionally we have written to the Governments of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines to advise that, while they will maintain their visa free status for the time being, the decision will be subject to a further review.

The UK Government remains committed to operating a firm but fair immigration policy. It gives a high priority to treating all foreign nationals coming to or present in the UK with dignity and respect, and the highest legal standards. However, it expects all visitors to the UK to play by the rules. The UK will always welcome genuine visitors, whether business, tourist, student or family, but will continue to take all steps necessary to protect the security of the UK.

– Taken from www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

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32 Comments

  1. Nathaniel Peltier
    April 7, 2010

    LONDON, England, CMC – Dominica and Grenada, two of the Caribbean countries remaining on a “grey list” of countries that have failed to implement the internationally agreed tax standard, have become the latest jurisdictions to ink accords on exchange of tax information with the United Kingdom.

  2. DOLLY
    April 6, 2010

    HA,!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHO WANT TO BE IN ENGLAND, ENGLAND PPL DONT EVEN WANT TO BE IN ENGLAND

  3. Manchat!
    April 6, 2010

    When you have a situation where there are no jobs,nor opportunities for young people,what do you expect?……..We have to create more opportunities for our young people.More jobs,a more positive society where they can find work and contribute to their country..Look here ..One of the primary functions or definition of GOVERNMENT..”ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL.THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THE CREATOR WITH INALIENABLE RIGHTS, AMONG THEM ARE THE RIGHT TO LIFE,LIBERTY AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS”…And it is to secure these Rights that Governments are instituted among men. This is the primary purpose for which Governments exist…………So examine yourselves, your conscience, and your Country…..Then and only then,You will see less crime,less violence and less migration………..Don’t forget…THINK THROUGH ISSUES!….If the very fabric of your society is corrupted i.e….Your Churches,your GOVT..,YOUR TOP Leaders…What can you expect?…..Where there is CORRUPTION, there will be CIVIL UNREST……WHERE THERE IS OPPRESSION THE PEOPLE WILL RISE UP AND REBEL……..Thereby…LAWLESSNESS!…….

    • April 6, 2010

      Yes Manchat, government has a role to play. No questions asked.

      Governments come and governments go, and WE the people have very much an impact on the opportunities made available and the situation we live in because of our negative attitude, outlook on life, decisions and unwillingness to be productive or to go the extra mile.

      Governments come and provide us with incentives, and what happen, WE oppose, find all kinds of faults and destroy everything over and over and over again regardless of what government is in power.

      If you had only read the comment properly, then you would have understood a bit more beyond the Skerritt part, the politics part. So maybe you too are guilty of political tribalism? Why am I not surprised that you turned right around to play the government blame game?

      Even when governments are guilty of bad decisions and corruption, when will we Dominicans begin to take responsibility for our actions against our country and fellow men?

      • Manchat!
        April 7, 2010

        Hold on a minute my friend….I think you are missing the point….’GET THE BIG PICTURE”….why are you playing the”who the cap fit game”?….I simple explain the essential functions and purpose of Govt…
        You have a party in mind…I don’t…..I represent the People..,,All the People….especially the future of your Country.(THE YOUNG PEOPLE)……..I suggest respectfully sir, that your go back and read what i wrote,think through the issues and try to understand….Take your colors off..PLEASE DO NOT ACCUSE ME OF WHAT I AM POINTING OUT AND TOTALLY AGAINST….”.POLITICAL TRIBALISM”….This is what in part that’s destroying your Country….I am PARTIAL TO NONE!!
        And please to give me any nonsense about..”a little corruption is OK!”..

  4. Well
    April 6, 2010

    Well “Wait A Minute” where is the Prime Minister now to represent us? I have been listening to the local news and we have yet to hear The Minister who is in fact the Minister for Foreign Affairs to come out and speak up about this. This isn’t just about Skerrit this is about Natural Born Dominicans. Have you asked yourself why was Dominica and St. Lucia singled out? Ask yourself the question “all those years ago when the persons who were representing us to get our Islands Independence why didn’t they sit down and organise a strategic and clever means of gaining from coming out from under the UK…like Barbados and St. Kitts and Nevis did?” If they had thought it through effectively and not just thought like you are thinking what is in front of you… perhaps we would be a lot better off. Have you a television to hear and observe the reactions of the French people when they are not happy with hikes in prices they come out in droves and speak their mind. Here all that comes out is HOT AIR like yours. Skerrit has I am sure made all the necessary arrangements to retire in style while …… like you just sit there and sing his praises….where’s your next meal coming from? “The Red Clinic I suppose” Oh and what happened to that organization? For your information I am right here in DA and feeling the pinch of an inadequately managed system. My concern is the ability of US Dominicans to be able to travel anywhere. You may think that this visa issue settles with the UK only….please read more world affairs then you will understand that this act by the UK is unfair to our human rights and ability to migrate from place to place. We don’t need to settle in the UK or US or Canada etc. The same way they can go on holiday yes those same “fledging” tourist who come off those ships on the bay front and portsmouth when they do come without visa restrictions and to enjoy themselves THAT MY DEAR FELLOW DOMINICAN is what my interest is. Whomever told you that we wish to maintain that backward slave mentality you talking about? Have you heard about the CSME. Caribbean integration and free trade. What do you think is going to happen to our already dead banana industry and for those other Fair Trade Products? Even the Diplomats will be restricted. When there is World Travel Market how many tourism officers do you think can travel out there in time to represent us and set up activities to attract those same British People to come here and spend. Think outside the box “If you understand this language”. Visa restrictions will restrict a lot of economic activity for Dominica. Are hoping the Venezuela and China will take on all our agriculture and other products? Come out of your ignorant frame of mind and see the bigger picture. How do expect to promote Carnival and Creole Festival in these countries when the officials are unable to obtain a visa to do just that in the communities in the UK? I can highlight a whole lot more issues to you but then that would make just more lazy than you are now to research and understand world politics.

    • Sout Man
      April 6, 2010

      Too much incoherent rambling, my learned friend!!!

  5. April 6, 2010

    Skerritt do, Skerritt do, Skerritt do, Skerritt do.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you go England and over stay.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you go England and teef.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you leave DA and go be second class citizens in England.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you sell your house and land in Dca when all you party lose elections to go England and take lodgemah by aunty, cousin and nennen and gwayay for papers.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you chook drugs up in all you know what and smuggle it in England.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you go and study, say Dca have nothing, never return and doh pay back Aid Bank while your parents struggling.

    Is Skerritt that make some of all you go England and work illegally in the people country.

    Is Skerritt that send all you child to UK and make him come back deported and paro.

    Yes, is Skerritt.

    Pa check ko zon epi ani di say Skerritt, say Skerritt. Blame everything, economic citizenship, racism, slavery, EXCEPT yourselves…

    When will you people see beyond the poltitics, eh?

    • Manchat!
      April 6, 2010

      STOP THE POLITICAL TRIBALISM!!!!…ENOUGH OF IT ALREADY!
      PUT YOUR COUNTRY FIRST!

  6. Truth B Told
    April 6, 2010

    Given our historical ties to the UK, we should not be required to obtain non-immigrant visas for short term visits (holidays, etc). However, if that becomes the case I agree that we should make the arrangement reciprocal, that is to say visitors from the UK to Dominica would likewise be required to obtain visas.

    Since the major issues that would lead to the imposing of visa requirement for Dominican are illegal overstaying (stow-away), drug trafficking and other crimes I doubt visas will be required once a full analysis of the situation is complete. Allowing Dominicans free access does not pose any substantial threat to the UK, and it would likely damage the long standing good relationship of the two countries.

    Basically it seems to be much ado about nothing.

  7. Prophet2
    April 6, 2010

    It’s because of our common Antillean Creole, we aren’t British enough…lol, I mean look at Ste. Lucie, every city, town and village is French. I blame it on Napoleon, anyways bonjours la Martinique et la Guadeloupe.

    You see, every now and then the Brits have to make some noise to remind people that they still exist. The EU has stole their thunder.

  8. April 6, 2010

    DOMINICA POSES NO THREAT , BUT OUR PASSPORTS WERE FOUND ON PEOPLE WHO HAD NO DOMINICAN CONNECTIONS, TRYING TO ENTER THE UK,PEOPLE THINK WHY WOULD 4 MEN FROM THE MIDDLE EAST , BE TURNED BACK FROM ANTIGUA 10/12/2009 FOR TRAVELING WITH DOMINICAN PASSPORTS TRYING TO BOARD A FLIGHT TO LONDON?, THEY DID NOT EVEN KNOW THAT THE CAPITAL OFDOMINICA WAS ROSEAU, THEY SAID PORTSMOUTH, AND THAT THEY WERE MEDICAL STUDENTS OF ROSS. PEOPLE THINK. DOMINICA IS DOOMED.

  9. Dominican to the bone.
    April 6, 2010

    What treat Dominica have on those Country none. They are only intrested in those Muslems and Arabs , they will continue to give them free acess , Caribbean people to peaceful, they dont course enough trouble. they cannot even claim for refuge statues. Keep praying my people god is watching us, they wont to keep us down , the caribbean people are moving to fast. they surpose to be close mineded. Now they seeing the light they wont to close the door on Dominicans. black people stop kiss ass with those white people. They have brought us to the caribbean and now they closing all the gate on the Caribbean it has just started. And those of you who belive it have anything thing to do with Dominca getting help fro those other countrys, it not so we as a people are moving to fast and they wont to slow us down.

  10. ricco
    April 6, 2010

    bondah zor. lemme go for my visa tan

  11. Wait A Minute
    April 6, 2010

    To the fool who writes rubbish under the caption ‘Well’ stop your ignorance and silly Skerrit bashing. You mean to tell me that just because we want to so-called “enjoy” visa-free entry to the UK we should put a complete hold on all assistance we receive from friendly countries such as China and Venezuela and to just agree to stay poor as England left us after giving us our independence with NOT one SINGLE major or minor infrastructure or industry of note? That is what you would like to see in DA. Yes so let us demolish the stadium and send back all the workers, equipment and over 100 million dollars to compete the road from Portsmouth to Roseau being provided by the Chinese. Let us give back all the millions which was provided by Venezuela to help the poor with housing, for educating our children, health etc. Yes, to enjoy our visa free “priviledge” to the UK let’s just sit back and wait for the crumbs in assistance that England offers every now and again while they continue their assault on our banana industry and now imposing all kinds of ridiculous extra taxes on their citizens travelling to the Caribbean just to deal a further blow to our fledgling tourist industries. Yes we should sit back as poor black people and accept our dire economic fate that our masas in Britain left us in after 1978. Why should we DARE to lift ourselves out of poverty anyway? Aren’t we but just the children of Africanslaves whom our former English colonizers brought down to work in the Caribbean? How dare we aspire to bring our living standards as close as possible to that enjoyed by our former colonizers? I guess we should really know our place if we know what’s good for us or dare risk loosing our “cherished” visa free status to the UK!

    Well, I will tell you what, patriots like myself will continue to fight to see my country move forward. We will continue to defend our rights as an independent nation to establish friendly relations with whichever countries we choose so long as it is in our interest and these countries respect us equally. That is why the more than 24000 of us re-elected PM Skerrit and the DLP on December 19 2009 to represent our best interest. If the interest of unpatriotic Dominicans like yourself is simply to run away to other countries to help develop them and just blame everything and everyone in Dominica, then here’s your chance, you still have a 6 months window of opportunity to run to reside in the UK if you so wish. The rest of us patriots will stay here as we have done all those years to continue to slowly develop our homeland. I only hope than 20 or 30 years from now when these people in the UK will move their ethnic cleansing to the next level and decide to deport ALL foreign born individuals from their country that people like yourself will not return home to try and fight down patriots like myself who chose to remain during thick and thin to develop the Nature Isle. GOD BLESS DOMINICA!!!

    • Anthony P. Ismael
      April 6, 2010

      Wait a Minute, your points were well thought out and appropriate. It appears that some persons who write on this site are using the history between Dominica and Great Britain to draw their conclusions. While the historic ties between these two nations cannot and should not be ignored,times have changed.

      Whether we are willing to accept this fact; The People’s Republic Of China is the “New Kid on the block.” They are an economic and military power house in a new era of globalization. Dominicans must recognize this fact.

      From a diplomatic and policy point of view, Dominican diplomats and elected officials must establish relations with nations that are mutually beneficial. The notion of Mother England is old, outdated and useless for Dominica’s stability and future economic growth.

      Our students who studied in Cuba during the 1980s were labled as “Communist” and banished by the Eugenia Charles administration, while the Great Britains of the world were unwilling to meet our needs. Blind political alliance is okay, but in the face of hard facts and data, it doesn’t stand a chance.

      We should not throw away or undo our diplomatic relations with them either. If the diplomats do their job, students should be able to study in China pretty soon, if that is already not the case. We need to start embracing the new China. They have done more for Dominica during the last five years, when compared to Great Britain during the last thirty years.

      The Memorandum of Understanding that was signed between the government of Dominica and the People’s Republic of China addresses critical infrastructural needs.

      The new and improved road/highway from Roseau to Portsmouth, is overdue. Finally, it’s being constructed. The Princess Margaret Hospital upgrade and the stadium, just to mention a few are all well thought out and necessary projects for the contiuned growth of Dominica and its citizens. How can anyone argue with affordable housing and housing for the elderly. Do our citizens not deserve dignity too?

      We cannot embrace growth in our tourism industry with poor roads and bridges. Although not an international airport, I am grateful for the improvements that were made to Melville Hall Airport. Of course an international airport would be better, then again, banks and funding institutions do not dole out hundreds of millions of dollars without a feasible repayment plan. I am loving the new take a chance and do what’s in the best interest of our people Dominica. I do not care who is in power, so long as they develop and improve my Dominica, I am elated.

    • Eric Cartman
      April 6, 2010

      I love it. Tell it like it is!!

  12. Well
    April 6, 2010

    To all those people who voted for The Skerrit Administration…here’s the UK’s reasoning behind the visa regime…The Commonwealth of Dominica is too friendly with the countries of China and Venezuela. These countries have taken a keen interest in Dominica and off-course countries like the UK have major concerns about that. It doesn’t matter how much money the tax payers of Dominica put into being a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat every six months ( and that is in Pound Sterling my people) I know because I have first hand knowledge of this. Our Darling Prime Minister may have assumed and probably still does believe that his ties with these leftist countries is helping Dominica …but it isn’t….in a big way. OK some will say we don’t need to go to England…but just think of the basic travel rights of every individual including our Darling Prime Minister being under constant scrutiny. We will lose big time and keep in mind where Britain Leads The United States of America will definitely follow and vice-versa. Keep Up the GOOD Work Mr. Skerrit. No one includes your subordinates and colleagues therefore I believe that it is only fitting to assume that you will be the only one in the HOT SIT in due time?

    • Hogwash, rubbish; to claim that the position the British has taken is due to people voting for Skerritt, and Dominica’s association with China, and Venezuela, is absolute nonsense!

      In the first place, the British conducts business with China, as well as Venezuela, so, it would appear that taking away our privilege of entering Britain without an issued visa has nothing to do with Dominica politics, and our diplomatic relationship with neither Venezuela, nor China.

      If we want to be honest with what may have triggered the concern of the British, we must shift the blame to ” self”

      Look at it this way, crime is out of control in our country, many of our people immigrate to the UK, and the North America, some of us seek out and live productive life’s, others take their Dominica mentality with them. If the engaged in criminal activity in Dominica, they go into people’s country, and conduct themselves in the same way, and ultimately finding themselves incarcerated at the expense of the taxpayers to whichever country they immigrate.

      Governments of foreign nations have no tolerance for the behavior and conduct that our people take into their country, therefore the fact that they have singled out Dominica, and St. Lucia, that speaks volumes.

      Skerrit, China, and Venezuela, and Dominica politics did not influence the British government, and their immigration services to take the stand they have taken.

      Blame it on the behavior, and conduct of our people at home and abroad!

      Take a look at Antigua, there are more than twenty (20,000) thousand Dominicans (as in The Commonwealth of Dominica) residing in Antigua. The jail house is filled with inmates, more than 30% of the inmates are Dominica nationals.

      When my late biological brother Inspector Almoore Robin of the Royal Antigua Police Force was gunned down in Antigua not so long ago, of the four boys who committed the murder, one was a Dominican.

      From Los Angeles, to New York, New Jersey, to Canada, Florida, we have people serving jail sentence, living in jail when they should be outside producing and living productive life’s.

      They were involved in criminal activities in Dominica, and could not refrain from conducting themselves in the way they behaved in Dominica.

      Dominicans and people from the rest of the West Indies began immigrating to England in the mid 1950’s, by the early 1960’s convicted Dominica criminals were being escorted back to Dominica from England in chains by the British police.

      We have a reputation, known to the world, and unless we are prepared to change our way of thinking, our mentality, and our conduct we can expect the worst is yet to come.

      In a small village as Wesley, people are murdered, and the their assailants are not caught, they are still out there. My nephew was recently found dead with his throat slit, murdered, one who was harmless, our people put our country and ourselves in every, and all the bad situation in we find ourselves.

      This nonsense about Dominica’s association with China, and Chavez, is an ignorant argument!

      In that case the British would not allow any American citizen into England, considering that the United States Of America, has diplomatic relations with both China, and Venezuela, in fact The United States owe’s China hundreds of billions of dollars which China has lent the United States.

      The problem is us, Dominica, let it what it is!

      Francisco Etienne-Dods Telemaque

  13. April 6, 2010

    What is the real story? what does DA gov’ment have to say. Who is doing the investigative reporting?

  14. D/can to the bone( foreign)
    April 6, 2010

    As a Dominican, we would like the British government To state their reasons why they are are putting visa restriction on Dominica. Dominica and St Lucia has been single out as countries of concern as they say.

    God help my country we must survive………….

  15. Lucian
    April 5, 2010

    Bun down babylon… the amount of abuse dem give we people already.

  16. wonderfull
    April 5, 2010

    here again my people the issue is the Dominican passports ending up in all kind of people hands .
    no one should be given a dominican passport unless that person in well established here in Dominica and can prove their commitment towards the development of this country and its people.
    No passport should be sold or given to anyone who has not being living here for les than 10 years.

    • Homeboy
      April 6, 2010

      People are injecting a lot of irrational comments but you hit the nail on its head. If a country is engaged in “commercial sale of it’s passports” then how does another country guarantee that the holders of these passports are genuine?????

  17. Fairplay
    April 5, 2010

    Dominica poses no threat to any country,we are just too small.The UK should be concerned about the Islamic people who are intent on murder.

  18. Grand Bayrian
    April 5, 2010

    Oh yes I forgot something here, England Security?… Pay back time, Dominica, remember Al Marsarie, The Arab? is he still coming?…..LOL the saga continues….

  19. Canada
    April 5, 2010

    I HONESTLY BELEIVE THAT THE CARIBBEAN ISLAND SHOULD IMPLYMENT VISA TO COME TO COME ON HOLIDAY TO. THEY WILL COME BECASUE THEY ALL LIKE TO COME TO THE CARIBBEAN, THE OTHER COUNTRYS HAVE TO MUCH DAM WAR, THEY WONT GO THERE. ALL THE CARICUM COUNTRY NEED TO COME TOGETHER TO DO THIS. THEY ARE GAINING AND WE ARE NOT,

  20. Grand Bayrian
    April 5, 2010

    In other words, stay in your own country and commit your crime, we do not want you guys in her Majesty Kingdom.

  21. hmmm
    April 5, 2010

    After they raped and stole from us all our lives, they have now found another way to restrain us….Can we reciprocate this? BS

  22. April 5, 2010

    put it on them Dominica the hardest. too much BOBOLand lies .

  23. all things shall pass away
    April 5, 2010

    Mr. Minister I would like to know what risk Dominica posing to uk

    • Homeboy
      April 6, 2010

      I can only speculate but I think it has a lot to do with Dominica’s stance of selling passports ( Economic citizenship): you see what happens when a country undertakes such a venture, is that other countries have no guarantee of the legitimacy of someone presenting a Dominica passport.

      Russians, Chinese, Iranians can all purchase these documents and enter unknowingly into the UK for example. So while we feel cheated, a country has a right to defend it’s boarders. Like it or not that is the way it is.

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