Tourism Minister welcomes USVI decision re visa-free entry for Caricom & CTO members

Governor-Jon-deJongh. Photo credit: bvinews.com
Governor-Jon-deJongh.
Photo credit: bvinews.com

A decision to waive travel visa requirements for CARICOM nationals and Caribbean Tourism Organization members to enter the United States Virgin Islands, has been given two thumbs up by Dominica’s Tourism Minister Ian Douglas.

At a recent meeting with regional tourism officials at the Caribbean Tourism Organisation’s (CTO) Conference held in Martinique, Governor John de Jongh of the USVI, said the USVI wants to cooperate in the movement of Caricom nationals throughout the region by providing them with visa-free access for sporting events, medical services and general tourism.

Earlier this year, Governor de Jongh said that he had met and spoken with Democratic Senator Ronald Wyden from Oregon, to institute a special visa waiver for citizens of CARICOM.

He said the proposal has received support in the US House of Representatives, the Senate and the Department of Homeland Security.

Douglas says the move will send a signal that intra-regional travel within members’ states is serious business.

“It is progressive move when none independent states in the region continue to find ways to integrate with the rest of us who are independent. If the US Virgin Island is now making that move, I believe it’s a good move. It spells well for unification,” he said.

Douglas says the move will also benefit the tourism product.

“We can go visit the other islands from CTO. To remove the visa requirements will be good for them because it will also allow more Caribbean islands to visit their islands. But it will also send a signal that we are serious about intra-regional travel within the member states,” he explained.

It is unclear exactly when the measure will be implemented.

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27 Comments

  1. Made In Dominica
    October 29, 2013

    Obviously this is just a diversion tactic by the Governor to delay the CARICOM Trade ministers from moving forward with their complaints regarding the preferential treatment of Virgin Islands rum producers. If anyone understands how the American system works they will know this is a dead end, cannot work with present policies of the State Department & Homeland Security. I live in the Virgin Islands and I know how things run.

    • November 12, 2013

      Made in Dominica.

      Hello and good evening. Well you are absolutely correct because our people just don’t seems to understand how America works. Mr DeJohn knows that he can’t do that unless the Federal Government allow him to do that. One of the biggest problem for the Caribbean is the preferable treatment the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico receive from America in tax abatements therefore we can’t compete on a one to one basis with them.

  2. excited
    October 29, 2013

    this one of the best new i ever read so far… i hope they implement this very soon…….AMEN

  3. the sage
    October 29, 2013

    The future has many paths……..choose wisely.

  4. kb
    October 29, 2013

    Positive vibez

  5. jesus
    October 28, 2013

    i think we need more clarification does that mean that when we arrive in st.thomas (for eg) we will still be given time to which we must stay in the country? what about medical reasons… can we just have a primary physician and travel regular to visits??

  6. BEB
    October 28, 2013

    That would be a good idea to have all the member state of Caricum, there for there will be free movements between nationals and Caribbean tourism.

    I do hope that I’m going to see less talk and more action.

  7. Observer
    October 28, 2013

    Good move. Long over-due!

  8. La voix
    October 28, 2013

    We must also use this opportunity to expand and build economies and not be a liability.

  9. Nice
    October 28, 2013

    I think that would be great

  10. JILLIAN
    October 28, 2013

    that is good news,let us hope it will not take to long to pass.

  11. La voix
    October 28, 2013

    CARICOM nationals should welcome this initiative of granting access into other Caribbean islands equally there should be similar initiatives by the French to extend kind gestures to CARICOM nationals to enter Martinique and Guadeloupe to broaden the scope of relations and make the region a centre of excellence for commerce, trade and industry.

  12. Citizen Kane
    October 28, 2013

    I just wish that the Honorable Minister of Tourism would for once seize the initiative and implore his counterparts in Dominica to recognize that intraregional travel is indeed big business and ask his government to stop giving LIAT donations… To pursue a policy which not only supports LIAT but encourages an influx of passengers into Dominica. Pursue a tax and landing fee waiver instead of cash support to LIAT.

  13. Aye
    October 28, 2013

    It is clear that the us congress will not allow it. Its amazing what smoke screens and dead end discussion and false promises Dominica government can make to its people.

  14. Anonymous
    October 28, 2013

    Interesting…I thought that the US Virgin Islands are part of America

  15. dominica
    October 28, 2013

    it will come at a price knowing how these super powers operate.

  16. Graduate
    October 28, 2013

    Talk, talk and more talk. John de Jongh knows that the Feds are not going to let that happen. If at all they eventually put something in place, the amount of restrictions would be so frustrating and time consuming that no one would really benefit.

  17. way pa pa
    October 28, 2013

    people will come in and not return , they will find their self not able to find a job and crime rate will go up sky high in St Croix.. That’s trouble down the road..

  18. way pa pa
    October 28, 2013

    Man you mad! homeland security not going to approve that…Visa free.. Homeland Security get so serious about people being documented in the U.S…hmmm De Jongh St Croix going down under water sorry governor this will not solve the problem. It will make it worse. 8-O

    • Holiday Island Boy
      October 29, 2013

      Must agree with you. On a cruise in the Baltic I found it easier to enter Russia, than Puerto Rico or the United States.

  19. New York CityII
    October 27, 2013

    Ian don’t hold your breath on this one, your thumbs up will be valid when the state department clears that proposal from the Governor, too many criminals out there are in possession with Dominican passports, Iranians and all

  20. Papyshow
    October 27, 2013

    Yeah man! we all going to de USA and leave Dominica for the Laborites “crab-barrel.”

  21. Journalist
    October 27, 2013

    The waiver will not apply to CTO members only those CTO members that are in CARICOM

  22. Lougaoo Mem
    October 27, 2013

    Bottoms up! The last statement of the article “It is unclear exactly when the measure will be implemented,” says it all. Bear in mind the pending immigration legislation/bill is still sitting in the Republican controlled Congress where there’s little appetite to take it up to the floor. And secondly in my opinion, many conservatives in Congress would consider such action as an opening of a flood gate or backdoor for many to enter one step closer to the U.S. mainland.
    I think this is more or less a wishful thinking on the Governor’s part, even though the Oregon Senator gave his support on instituting the special visas waiver for citizens of CAROCOM. However, I do pray and hope that such plan becomes a reality, even though I have my doubt. This is my opinion.

  23. October 27, 2013

    Crucians never thought they were Caribbeans. Caribbeans should not have to present a visa to enter another Caribbean Island. Anyway, this is the law of their land so we have to abide by their law. It is an excellent idea for the USVI to open their doors for other Caribbeans to enter.

    Congratulations to all who are qualified under that column; “sporting events, medical services and general tourism.” Do not fool yourselves though.

  24. Jimi Hendrix
    October 27, 2013

    Removing the visa is only one leg of the stool. To increase intraregional travel the air fares must also be affordable. Those high taxes on airline tickets must be eliminated or reduced.

  25. Shay-kit
    October 27, 2013

    All you are back with that Myth again? Dominicans fall for anything/skerritt, so they will fall for that lie.

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