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Eustace believes SVG ties with Iran contributed to Canada visa restriction decision


Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace is “convinced” that this country’s close foreign policy ties with Iran “must have featured somewhere” in Ottawa’s decision to require visas for Vincentians visiting Canada, the New Democratic Party (NDP) said in a press release on Wednesday.{{more}}

On September 7, Canada closed its embassy in Iran and declared personae non gratae, all Iranian diplomats in Canada.

Four days later, Canada announced visa requirements for St Vincent, St Lucia and four African nations.

It said visas were required for the Caribbean nations because of “unreliable travel documents” and the large number of asylum seekers.

Eustace “is convinced that SVG’s close foreign policy ties with Iran, with whom Canada has broken diplomatic relations, must have featured somewhere in Canada’s decision to impose the visa restriction on Saint Vincent,” the NDP said.

“Canada regards Iran as a State Sponsor of Terrorism,” the party further quoted Eustace as saying.

“[A]ny tie between our country and Iran, when combined with the falsification of passports, would be unacceptable to Canada and must have entered into Canada’s decision-making.”

The NDP quoted their leader as saying Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ “political machinery is now working to run away from and sidestep the issue.

“The government must take responsibility for this situation (the imposition of visas).

“They had enough warning from the Canadian authorities and from our own Immigration statistics to know that this action would be taken if they did not respond to Canada’s concerns.”

The NDP leader said “Vincentians will pay a heavy price in the form of the repatriation of criminals, and many working and law abiding Vincentians returning to our shores to look for work during a time of unprecedented unemployment and continued negative growth,” the NDP press release further stated.

It said the East Kingstown representative anticipates that, “the falsified passport issue will raise a red flag for immigration authorities in the United States and other countries to which our citizens normally travel.

“I am worried, he said, about the impact this could have on the United Kingdom, for example, which does not now impose a visa requirement.” (