Basseterre, St. Kitts (CUOPM) — St. Kitts and Nevis’ Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Patrice Nisbett said Monday Canada is an important ally of longstanding of the twin-island Federation.
In a statement on Freedom Radio 106.5 FM “Good Morning St. Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Nisbett said the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis values the strong relations with the North American nation over the years and reiterated Canada’s public commitment for national to get easy access to visas.
Commenting on the imposition of a visa requirement for persons with St. Kitts and Nevis passports, Mr. Nisbett noted that Canada has important security concerns and the local government has taken measures to strengthen the security of the St. Kits and Nevis passport.
“The Government recognizes this. And the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis shall do all in its power to respect and accommodate the concerns of so important an ally,” he said.
Mr. Nisbett, who is also Minister of Homeland Security and Immigration disclosed that last Friday, a Government of Canada diplomat was good enough to travel to Basseterre to meet with him as a matter of courtesy, to share with the Government the fact that in pursuit of Canada’s security interests, Kittitians and Nevisians, like the citizens of the vast majority of Caribbean countries, and like the citizens of 147 countries around the world, would now travel to Canada on a visa.
“St. Kitts and Nevis has a Citizenship by Investment Programme, as we all know, and Canada wishes to be able to determine, for itself, exactly who does, and does not enter its territory,” said Nisbett.
He pointed out that when providing this information on its website on Saturday last, the Government of Canada clearly stated: ‘Canada continues to welcome genuine visitors from St. Kitts and Nevis and has a number of programmes, including a multiple-entry visa, to make it easy for such legitimate visitors to travel to Canada.’ I repeat, because I have been advised that some persons have been disseminating erroneous information, ‘Canada continues to welcome genuine visitors from St. Kitts and Nevis and has a number of programmes, including a multiple-entry visa, to make it easy for such legitimate visitors to travel to Canada.’
Minister Nisbett stated that the St. Kitts and Nevis Citizenship by Investment Programme has funded projects from agriculture to energy, and infrastructure to health – all of which expanded opportunities for the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and improved the people’s quality of life.
“This Government is therefore committed to ensuring that the programme continues to work and that it continues to work well. And to do this, the Government shall always review and revise, as necessary, in order to properly meet the needs of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, and in order to protect the constructive relations we have so carefully built with nations across the globe,” he stated.
He indicated the Government’s commitment to always seek ways to strengthen the security features of the St. Kitts and Nevis passport.
“This type of vigilance is important today, and it will be equally important 20 years from now,” said Minister Nisbett, who disclosed some of the more recent measures that the Government has put in place where the local passports are concerned.
“Effective February 2014, any previous names of any St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders have been listed on the passport’s observation page; effective July 2014, the place of birth of all St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders has been printed in the passport, as opposed to being accessible only electronically and new St. Kitts and Nevis passports are being issued to replace any passports in existence which do not indicate place of birth,” said Foreign and Immigration Minister Nisbett.
“The Federal Cabinet of St. Kitts and Nevis is comprised of nationals of St. Kitts and Nevis. This is our home. We are therefore deeply committed to ensuring the wellbeing of this nation, and the welfare of its people. In addition, we were elected to protect the interests of this country. This we have been doing and this we shall continue to do. The strong relations that exist between the St. Kitts and Nevis Government and governments around the world are evident in the range of collaborative undertakings that have moved our country so steadily forward,” said Nisbett.
He submitted that the Government has led the country with focus, discipline, and competence.
“Our performance during the global crisis – which brought many nations to their knees – made this clear. As does our demonstrated commitment to the protection and upliftment of our nation, as a whole,” said Minister Nisbett.