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Canadian official meets with authorities to discuss Vincentian passports

Canadian official meets with authorities to discuss Vincentian passports

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A Canadian official visited this country last week on the heels of a letter Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves sent to Ottawa last month after it imposed visa restrictions on Vincentians.{{more}}

Gonsalves said on WE FM’s “Shake Up” on Friday that the Canadian official, based in Trinidad, held discussions with immigration authorities, the Registrar of the High Court, the Attorney General, and acting Commissioner of Police, Michael Charles.

“And the purpose of the visit was in relation to what I publicly requested that someone come and also to what I had written to [Prime Minister of Canada Stephen] Harper on the 13th of September, the day after the visa restrictions were imposed by Canada,” Gonsalves said.

Canada listed “unreliable travel documents” among its reasons for imposing visas on Vincentians.

The prime minister said at no time before had the Canadians raised with his government any issue about Vincentian passports.

“The diplomatic note stated reasons as unsustainable and excessive refugee claims and immigration violations in Canada,” the prime minister said.

It had nothing to do with the unreliability of our travel documents, Gonsalves said.

He added that in discussion with the Canadian authorities, it was intimated that the announcement should have been better made because there is no evidence that SVG has unreliable passports.

“I asked that someone from Canada come and someone has … We have nothing to hide,” Gonsalves said.

Meanwhile, Godfred Pompey, permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, told SEARCHLIGHT on Friday that the development was a clear indication that the prime minister’s intervention was bearing fruit in a short space of time.

“We expect that there will be some clarity down the road, but the prime minister will speak more on that,” Pompey told SEARCHLIGHT. (DD)

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