Tuesday, September 18, 2012


Visa free days over

And darkness descended on St Vincent and the Grenadines when it was proclaimed that visas were now needed to enter the land of Canada. The natives wailed, gnashed their teeth and rend their garments but to no avail. I exaggerate but the mood has ranged from gloomy to belligerent to blame sharing since the plug was pulled on visa free travel.

Among other things the Canadian Government has cited the unusually high refugee claims and unreliable Vincentian travel documents as factors that weighed heavily in their decision. Unsurprisingly,both sides of the political fence have had field days dispensing the blame.The Opposition point to the Government's failure to create an environment that enables economic stability while the Government blames the Opposition for aiding and abetting spurious refugee claims.  From time immemorial  persons have left their homes in search of  the proverbial greener pastures. Caribbean people for the most part following the 60's exodus to England (aptly captured by Louise Bennett's "Colonization in Reverse") have flocked to the US and Canada. There  vibrant communities have flourished as the immigrants set about to build better lives for themselves and their families.

With the economic downturn  being felt Vincentians have been packing their bags and heading northwards to Canada. Some rather than applying themselves to being productive citizens have found themselves in trouble with the law and subsequently deported. From my vantage point both political sides have valid points but I suspect they would rather die than give any such concession. So now visas are needed and the form is so discouraging that persons may not even want to bother applying. For example, applicants must list the names of all their siblings-half, full, step along with their DOB and occupation. Hmmmm, given the dynamics of the Caribbean family that list could get very long! Would be visitors must have a letter of invitation from a Canadian citizen, show continuous employment of 10 yrs, bank statement of 6 mths etc. Then there is the monetary cost of $75 Cdn for single entry, $150 for multiple and I've been told there is also a family rate.

Since this seems so irksome I've come up with some non visa countries / regions that we can visit. In no particular order here goes





South Africa

The Caribbean ( Yes the Caribbean)


Who needs Canada?

Typical case of a few spoiling it for the majority.
Asylum my foot - I know many friends who went up to Canada to cross over to the US, now all that gone.
This is very interesting. Living here in Toronto, St. Vincent and the Grenadines are clearly below the media radar.

Mostly the focus appears to be on Roma 'refugee' claimaints from Hungary. Which country, btw, has no visa restrictions for travel to Canada. Given that last year over 300 Roma 'refugees' all from one small part of Hungary arrived at the airport every week, it makes a person wonder what's so special about Hungary that the Canadian government is loathe to slap visa restrictions on travel from that country.

Imagine if over 15,000 Vincentians would annually declare themselves refugees at Pearson international airport. The island would be depopulated in no time at all.
Even if the possibility for this would exist, it would not happen.

So, why pick on little St. Vincent?

At least people from St. Vincent speak English which is one big deal for adapting to life in this country.

I read the news everyday and have yet to read an article about anyone from St. Vincent committing a criminal act worthy of news reports.

So I don't understand what's just happened. I feel bad for good people who just want to visit their family. The visa applications are excessively intrusive and an affront to decent people.


Hey Gabrielle

Thanks for the feedback. It's all a little odd and there are persons with tickets who now have to go rush to get the visas. At the least the authorities could have made an exemption for persons who had purchased tickets before the announcement was made.

I don't even want to think of that application form . Intrusive doesn't even begin to cover it:)
This Visa imposition has wrecked my love life!! How am I going to see my women when they come up for holidays to Canada? I had my plans this christmas to drive over to see a certain honey boo from Vincyland...now its going to be trial and tears for her to come up to Canada, life is just unfair.

Now, this whole Visa debacle in Vincyland is being framed from a very narrow partisan perspective. And truth be told there is enough blame for each of the two parties to hang their heads in shame. But to get caught up in the political mudslinging in Vincyland, is to miss the bigger picture of what is exactly the REAL REASON FOR THIS VISA IMPOSITION.

Its all about the money or so they claim. Look,the Canadians passed a bill about a year ago called the BALANCED REFUGEE REFORM ACT and this is what the Minister of Citizenship said about this bill:"While Canada already has one of the most generous refugee systems in the world, these reforms would lead to faster protection for victims of torture and persecution, and faster removal of failed asylum claimants including those who try to abuse Canada's generosity". He also emphasized that: "Failed asylum claimants would have access to a new fact-based appeal at the Refugee Appeal Division, while taxpayers would save an estimated $1.8 billion over 5 years because failed claimants would no longer be able to stay in Canada for years".

1.8 BILLION...this is not small change and given the political leanings of the Canadian Government-CONSERVATIVE, its no surprise that they are pursing such cost cutting measures. By the way, that was the OFFICIAL REASON...I suspect there maybe some other unsavory reasoning going on behind closed doors...such as unadulterated racism.

Anyway, the bottomline is, regardless of how perfect a system we have in SVG or how well we follow the guidelines, at the end of the day; we HAVE NO CONTROL OVER CANADA'S DECISION TO IMPOSE VISA RESTRICTIONS. So all this blame game going on in Vincyland is simply tribal and missing(or deliberately ignoring) the bigger picture. Hypocrite alert! And yes I have been playing the game for the past week...hey i am a political animal, can't miss a moment to put a bulwood on Ralphie.;)

So Abeni,how we going to wuk out this thing now...when you going to Trinidad for your Visa...or do I have to buy me ticket to come down for Christmas? LOL....murdoooooooooo!!!!

@Ms Kadar,well said. The Canadians didn't have to take such drastic measures with SVG; at least put some stricter guidelines for those seeking refugee status and having the Government get their act together in terms of "unreliable travel documents"...and yes deport those who broke the law...but this blanket restriction is just simply awful for the majority of law abiding Vincentians who just want to visit their families and friends.

But being the political animal I am, I have to say, our Government didn't do sufficient diplomatic work to persuade Canada to do otherwise.
@Saadiss been so busy hardly had a moment to check here. I think you would have to come to Vincy because I fraid them forms:)

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