Jamaica visa dispute discussed

Cayman’s Premier McKeeva Bush and Jamaica’s
Deputy Prime Minister Kenneth Baugh have agreed to try to resolve the issue of
visas required for travel between Jamaica and the Cayman Islands during
informal talks on Wednesday.

A delegation from Jamaica that
included Mr. Baugh, former Jamaican prime minister Percival James “PJ”
Patterson, and CARICOM economic advisor Byron Blake, visited the Legislative
Assembly while it was in session Wednesday. The group was in transit from Jamaica
to Havana, Cuba, where the officials are attending a CARICOM conference.

According to a Cayman Islands
Government Information Service press release, Mr. Bush and Mr. Baugh agreed
during the brief meeting to hold further discussions on the visa issue.
Currently, visas are required by Caymanians to visit Jamaica and for Jamaicans
to enter Cayman.

In July, Mr. Bush told the Jamaica
Gleaner that the government was considering making it easier for Jamaicans to
visit Cayman if they already possess a United States visa, stating that he believed
the rigorous process to which applicants for US visas are subjected should be
satisfactory for entry to Cayman, eliminating the need for the granting of a
Cayman visa.

Mr. Baugh is also minister for
foreign affairs and foreign trade of Jamaica. Mr. Patterson was Jamaica’s prime
minister from 1992 to 2006; and Mr. Blake represents the Office of the Special
Representative of CARICOM on Haiti.

During their courtesy stop, they
visited the Legislative Assembly, where they met the Premier, Speaker of the
Legislative Assembly Mary Lawrence, Deputy Governor Donovan Ebanks, Attorney
General Sam Bulgin, and Financial Secretary Kenneth Jefferson, along with
government ministers and MLAs.

After watching the lawmakers at
work during a meeting at which several amendments to bills were finalised, the
guests gathered in the lobby of the Legislative Assembly and talked about the
close historic ties between the islands. They also spoke of the need to rebuild
the traditional Caribbean foundation of strong parenting and families in their
countries.

Referring to the
CARICOM conference, which will focus on Haiti’s rebuilding, the leaders also
acknowledged the need for Caribbean-wide dialogue on other regional interests.

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