The St Lucia government yesterday expressed its disappointment at the decision by Canada to impose visa requirements on nationals entering the North American country.
In a brief statement, the Kenny Anthony administration said it is "disappointed and dismayed by the decision of the government of Canada to impose visas on St Lucians who wish to travel to Canada".
"The government of St Lucia deeply regrets that the Canadian government did not give it an opportunity to address the concerns regarding the claims of "unreliable travel documents" allegedly held by some St Lucians," the statement said, promising that a "full statement will be issued by the government subsequent to the receipt of a letter from the Canadian government conveying its decision".
Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister Jason Kenney said that nationals from St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines would now need a visa to travel and enter the country as the North American country clamps down on people making false claims for resident status.
"In particular, criminals from these countries can legally change their names and acquire new passports. In some instances, people who were removed from Canada as security risks later returned using different passports", a statement from Citizen and Immigration Canada said, adding that, in the cases of Namibia, Botswana and Swaziland which are also affected by the decision, human trafficking, especially of minors, and fraudulent documents are significant concerns.
Kenney said these requirements will better protect the safety of Canadians by preventing foreign criminals from coming to Canada in the first place.