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    Categories: Local News

PM Harris says visa renewal interview waiver reflects improved US-St. Kitts relationship

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Qualified St. Kitts and Nevis passport holders are no longer required to undergo a visa renewal interview at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados, effective today, the United States Government announced Friday.

“This is a pivotal moment for diplomacy, as it is indicative of the much-improved relationship and goodwill between the United States and the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis under my Team Unity Government,” Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis and Minister of National Security Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris said today.

“Since being elected in February 2015 to serve the interests of the people of St. Kitts and Nevis, my Government has consistently demonstrated high levels of accountability, cooperation and transparency in the diplomatic arena,” Prime Minister Harris also said.

The Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis went on to note that, “From very early on, we have held regular high-level meetings with the United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Hon. Linda Taglialatela, as well as engaged in proactive diplomatic efforts that have resulted, inter alia, in the reinstatement in 2016 of the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis’ Diplomatic Week – an event that I inaugurated and celebrated back in 2007 and 2008 as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

“My Government has also expanded our diplomatic footprint by establishing more diplomatic relations and visa-free arrangements around the world, including in Africa, Asia and Europe – an ongoing undertaking ably led by Foreign Affairs Minister the Hon. Premier Mark Brantley.”

Prime Minister Harris also noted that, “This new state of affairs is a far cry from the dark days when, under the Denzil Douglas-led regime, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis was increasingly isolated from its traditional allies due to ill-advised actions, such as granting St. Kitts and Nevis passports with their country of origin concealed, and diplomatic imbroglios, such as the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN’s) advisory of May 20, 2014 and the Canadian government’s revocation of the visa-free status of citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, effective November 22, 2014.”

The statement said, “The fallout from these diplomatic imbroglios prompted the Douglas administration to issue an urgent passport recall in December 2014. Two months later, the people of St. Kitts and Nevis voted for a Team Unity Government to right the wrongs of Denzil Douglas’ regime.”

“The announcement by the United States is tangible evidence of the restoration of good relations between the United States and St. Kitts and Nevis. My Team Unity Government will continue to provide the type of leadership that our international allies can trust and that brings benefits to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis,” the Prime Minister concluded.

The announcement by the U.S. Embassy is here: https://bb.usembassy.gov/u-s-embassy-announces-interview-waiver-process-for-qualifying-visa-renewals-in-saint-kitts-and-nevis/.

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