Visas Now Required For Guyanese Visiting St Maarten
The St. Maarten Government has confirmed that Guyanese will now need visas to travel to that country.
The requirement took effect on Monday, and also applies to nationals of Jamaica.
St. Maarten’s Minister of Justice, Roland Duncan, confirmed the new visa requirement.
However, the St. Maarten official did not give a reason for the decision.
But owner of the news website, SXMIslandTime.com in St. Maarten, Samuel Allen, told The Gleaner newspaper of Jamaica that the new regulation was prompted by statistics, which indicated visitors of Jamaican and Guyanese nationalities were overstaying their entry time on the island.
Allen also shared that an increase in crime has been cited as another factor.
According to Allen, visas will only be granted for three months and will only be issued to previous applicants at three-month intervals.
Meanwhile, the government in St. Maarten said that border controls were implemented to ensure that the new policy is enforced.
Sources in St. Maarten said that police officers dealing with border controls were not instructed on how to implement the visa requirements.
However, a memo was reportedly sent to police and immigration personnel but no clear instructions were issued as to the way forward.
It is also unclear if travelers from Jamaica and Guyana, who have already purchased tickets, were given a grace period.
St. Maarten is a former Dutch island which made up the Netherlands Antilles but last year opted to be directly under Holland, the mother country. It has been a choice country for many Caribbean nationals looking for a better living after authorities there took a lax attitude to immigrants in the 90’s. However, during the last few years, the island in face of fewer jobs toughened its stance, deporting many illegals and introducing new measures for work permits.