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‘I Think This Is The First Step’ – Baptiste Comments On Canada’s Visa-Free Announcement


Saint Lucia’s External Affairs Minister Alva Baptiste has welcomed Canada’s announcement adding Saint Lucia to its Electronic Travel Authorization (eTA) programme, enabling visa-free travel for eligible citizens.

Saint Lucian citizens who have either held a Canadian visa in the last ten years or a valid United States non-immigrant visa can now apply for an eTA instead of a visa when travelling to Canada by air.

“I think this is the first step in the dismantling of the visa facilities,” Saint Lucia’s External Affairs Minister stated.

Baptiste spoke to reporters on Monday on the sidelines of a Cabinet meeting.

“I think we should encourage the further dismantling of it. So we are going to continue to engage the Canadian authorities to see what can be done to move to the next phase and I think what would set the stage beautifully is if Saint Lucians just stay away from trouble,” the Laborie MP noted.

In September 2012, Canada imposed a visa requirement for Saint Lucians.

At the time, Citizenship, Immigration, and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney declared that the move was necessary to protect the integrity of Canada’s ‘fair and generous immigration system’.

Kenney said it would help to reduce an unacceptably high number of immigration violations.

Alva Baptiste told reporters if Saint Lucians stayed away from the things that precipitated the visa imposition, it could build a case.

“I think we can go to the table and say, ‘Look, our people are well-behaved. When last you had an issue with Saint Lucians?’ So you build a case,” Baptiste said.

However, he warned that increased negative activity would make it challenging to negotiate persistently and effectively.

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  1. Didn’t you call Canada part of a mongoose gang when you were in opposition, how quickly we forget.


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