Anthony’s concerns about visa sharing
CASTRIES – Prime Minister Kenny Anthony has expressed concern about the impact on his country of a new visa information sharing agreement between Canada and the United States.
The agreement allows both countries to share information about third country nationals who apply for a visa or permit to travel to either nation.
The accord, which was signed last month, follows a decision made by Canada in September last year to impose visa restrictions on St Lucians.
At that time Canada said criminals from St Lucia could enter the country without being checked and they could also obtain travel documents with new names.
The Canadian officials were also concerned about the high number of refugee claims from St Lucia.
The Prime Minister said the new visa information sharing pact between Ottawa and Washington represented another blow to his country.
“I guess somehow that the value of the historical relationship that Canada and the Caribbean shared, that relationship is no longer that important to this current Canadian administration as has been the case in the past.
“All of this is really very unfortunate and the tragedy of it all is that we are being punished for problems that could have been resolved at the Canadian end many years ago, but the Canadians did not have the will to act and they have decided to make us pay for whatever weaknesses that existed in their system,” he added.
Anthony said the new visa information agreement had very serious consequences, as what happened with the Canadians with respect to entry requirements could be adopted wholesale by America. (CMC)