Former Police Commissioner, Ausbert Regis, has said that former Tourism Minister, Allen Chastanet, had in 2007, proposed the removal of outgoing immigration checks as a means of facilitating hassle free tourism.
Regis, speaking today on the Radio Saint Lucia programme “Ninety Minutes” with host, Shelton Daniel, said that the accuracy of his statement can be verified by several persons, including former Prime Minister, Stephenson King and current Director of Tourism, Louis Lewis.
According to the former top Cop, he argued that the former Minister’s proposal was not the best way to go, since the government had taken a multi-million dollar loan from the World Bank to put a Border Security Unit in place for Cricket World Cup.
Regis recalled that when he was asked to go on leave, British national, John Broughton, one of several British Officers who had joined the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force in an effort to beef up the organization, complied with the Minister’s request.
“Immediately upon that happening persons from far and wide started coming to Saint Lucia with genuine documents, obtained fraudulent Saint Lucian passports and travelled to Canada.” The former Police Commissioner stated.
According to Regis, persons spotted with a fraudulent passport entering the United States would be arrested, jailed and deported.
However he asserted that because of Canadian law, such an individual can claim political asylum.
Regis disclosed that as a result of the situation with no outgoing immigration checks, a lot of holders of Saint Lucian passports were travelling to Canada, and by the time he returned to work one year later and reinstituted the checks, Canadian Security Agencies were saying that Saint Lucia had a problem.
In 2012, Canada imposed a visa requirement on holders of Saint Lucian passports