Canada is seeking to find solutions to reduce the impact of visa requirements on Saint Lucians seeking to travel to that North American country, Canadian High Commissioner, Marie Legault says.
“It’s a question of security and our policy from Canada,” Legault told St Lucia Times Friday.
“We are trying to find solutions to reduce the impact for everybody in Saint Lucia,” the Canadian diplomat explained.
In November last year, Canadian authorities announced that nationals of Saint Lucia could submit biometric data for visas at the Canadian High Commission in Barbados, in addition to Trinidad and Tobago.
At the time, Saint Lucia’s non-resident High Commissioner to Canada, Anton Edmunds, said it gave Saint Lucian nationals options.
Edmunds said it indicated a responsiveness by Canada to the government of Saint Lucia’s stated concerns about costs associated with travel to Trinidad and Tobago.
On September 11, 2012, the Canadian government implemented visa requirements for all visitors to Canada who are Saint Lucia or Saint Vincent citizens.
According to news reports, a key reason for the move was unreliable travel documents.
Canadian authorities were reported to be concerned that criminals from both countries could legally change their names and acquire new passports.
It was reported that in some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports.
Canadian High Commissioner Marie Legault observed that since January, Canada has implemented its biometrics programme all over the world.
“This is a programme that we have been working on for a number of years,” she stated.
The Canadian diplomat noted that for the moment, people have to go to either Barbados or Trinidad to do bometrics.
But she said she was happy to say that a mobile team came here about a month and a half ago to do biometrics.
“That was done here, so we are finding solutions to make sure that it is not a challenge or a barrier to travel by Saint Lucians,” Legault told St Lucia Times.