A US Visa waiver hoax has brought a warning from the Prime Minister’s Attache, Nancy Charles
“We got a lot of calls to the Office of the Prime Minister with reference to the so-called release from the US State Department about a no visa requirement for Saint Lucian nationals travelling to the United States,” Charles told the Times.
She was referring to information published on a website by ‘News Arena’ that was widely circulated locally, claiming that the US Department of State had updated the number of qualified Visa Waiver Programme designated countries from 38 to 39.
According to the information, Saint Lucian passport holders no longer require visas to travel to the United States.
However Nancy Charles said the PM’s Office has no idea where the story came from.
“That information has not been communicated to the Minister of External Affairs and we are asking members of the public to be a bit cautious before spreading information, especially if it is not credible and from official sources,” Charles warned.
She explained that if the visa waiver story were genuine there would have been some statement from the Office of the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister himself to inform the nation.
The Prime Minister’s Attache told the Times that such a development would have taken a lot of time and negotiation to achieve.
Charles recalled that just recently the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) had to clear the air after reports began circulating that Saint Lucia was going to be hit by a tsunami.
“I would like to caution members of the public who are taking part in those activities to mindful as to what we use the internet and the technology for. The technology is there for out benefit – as a people, as a country and we should not be using it for malicious intent or to spread false information,” she declared.
She agreed that the public must ensure that the information they obtain is from a credible and reputable source.
“As far as I know the credible and reputable source is still the Communications Unit of the Office of the Prime Minister, NTN – you have radio stations in Saint Lucia that would be broadcasting that information or television stations,” Charles said.
“You do have some online newspapers which would be reporting credible information as well.”
Charles said the Office of the Prime Minister wanted people to be mindful of those credible sources and treat with caution information that does not emanate from them.