Jamaica Removes Visa Requirement for Some Haitians

Senator Kamina Johnson Smith

Some Haitians will no longer need visas to travel to Jamaica.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, made the disclosure in St James on Saturday following a bilateral meeting between Jamaica and Chile.  Jamaica’s decision comes on the heels of Barbados’ bid to remove the visa requirements for Haitians recently.

According to the Jamaica Observer,

Cabinet has approved a protocol that will remove visa requirements for Haitians traveling to Jamaica for bona fide business purposes and who are holders of a valid visa issued by Canada, the United Kingdom (UK), the United States of America (US), or a State of the Schengen area.

“The most recent thing that has been done by Cabinet is an approval of the removal of restrictions that were in place. With the Cabinet decision, if you are a Haitian businessperson traveling with a US, Schengen or Canadian visa, and we have added UK visa, you will not require an additional visa to enter Jamaica,” Senator Kamina Johnson Smith said. “Cabinet has recently approved the process to ensure that it is implemented.”

The minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade added that, “apparently it was inconsistently applied, and this is in fact because of a Caricom (Caribbean Community) heads decision that was taken previously with the agreement of Haiti-recognising their infrastructural weakness at the time, and therefore needed to be phased in to allow that where a particular vetting process had already taken place that Jamaica recognised, through our own international arrangements, that we, in turn, recognise those”.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness explained: “If the Haitian citizen has already [been] vetted [for a] US visa, UK, Schengen visa, and Canadian [visa], I believe as well, which we already acknowledge, then they can come to Jamaica.”

“My Cabinet has agreed to remove the visa requirements for Haiti because, in our view, it breaches the fundamental tenets that bind us under the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas,” said Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley to loud applause at the recently concluded 39th Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of Caricom, at Montego Bay Convention Centre.

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