PHILIPSBURG--Nationals of Jamaica and Guyana now require a visa to visit St. Maarten. The requirement went into immediate effect on Monday, April 11 leaving travellers already booked to visit the country in the coming days in limbo because no easing in period was given.
Justice Minister Roland Duncan confirmed that visas were now needed, in a press release issued after The Daily Herald contacted his office asking for clarity because the Dutch Consulate in St. Kitts and Nevis had sent out a fax on Monday morning to travel agents in countries under its scope, but nothing had been issued locally by government.
Government had taken the decision to put a visa requirement in place for nationals of the two countries in a bid to curb the influx of undocumented persons and crime. That decision of the Council of Ministers was sent on to the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
While the press release from Duncan and the fax from the Dutch Consulate in St. Kitts and Nevis that was obtained by this newspaper states that the visa requirement was in immediate effective, travellers in Guyana who contacted Dutch authorities there were told that an official enforcement date still had to be set. This meant that travellers already booked can still travel without a visa until the yet-to-be decided enforcement date.
The Dutch Consul in Guyana directed callers to a contact person at John Fernandes Limited who explained that forms for visa application could be obtained at the office when requirement was enforced.
Attempts to get further clarification on the state of affairs from the Justice Ministry proved futile. Personnel at the ministry were not even aware that the visa requirement had come into effect on Monday and were provided with a copy of the fax obtained by this newspaper.
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April 15, 2011
Posted by Annalee Davis