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‘Visa requirement for Jamaicans and Haitians violates CARICOM treaty,” says Opposition Leader Shyne Barrow

Posted: Saturday, April 15, 2023. 10:02 am CST.

By Breaking Belize News Staff: Leader of the Opposition Moses ‘Shyne’ Barrow has condemned a move by the Government of Belize (GOB) to require Visas for Jamaican ad Haitian nationals, stressing that it violates a regional treaty Belize has signed on to.

Barrow issued a statement this week, noting that requiring Visas from Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals violates the rights of free movement guaranteed under the 1973 Treaty of Chaguaramas, which established CARICOM.

“These rights have been tested and affirmed all the way to the CCJ in 2013 when the CCJ ruled that Ms. Shanique Myrie, as a CARICOM national, had a right of entry to any CARICOM Nation under a 2007 decision by the conference of heads of government on the free movement of citizens within the community, without harassment or undue impediments,” Barrow said.

Barrow stressed that, apart from the right being affirmed by Belize’s highest appellate court, ‘whimsical decision making’ could undermine the institution of CARICOM, the objective of regional integration, and our ultimate aspirations for a single market economy.

He also warned that such decision-making could leave Belize increasingly isolated and cause the country to become a threat to the CARICOM community successive Belizean governments have been involved in building.

“The Briceño Administration must ensure Belize is a committed member of the CARICOM Community and find solutions derived from meaningful deliberations with all the Heads of States that are in keeping with the framework of regional integration and the single market economy,” he added.

At the end of March, Prime Minister John Briceño announced the new visa requirements, as a means of countering an increasing number of people who are using Belize as a transit point to enter the United States.

Briceño explained that the requirements would be imposed by invoking Article 226 (a) of the Treaty of Chaguaramas, which would allow for the Minister of Immigration to immediately impose a visa requirement for Haitians wishing to visit Belize and to require Jamaican nationals to provide evidence of fully paid non-refundable hotel reservations before boarding flights to Belize.


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