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Free movement of fans for Cricket World Cup

Free movement of fans for Cricket  World Cup

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 8TH 2006 (CUOPM) – Tournament Director for next year’s ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean, Chris Dehring has applauded the security and immigration initiatives agreed by the Prime Ministers of CARICOM, which will enable free movement of fans between the nine host nations plus Dominica.

Speaking from the 27th Meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government Conference in St. Kitts and Nevis, Dehring in a statement issued through Cricinfo said: “We are very pleased by the steps agreed to by the leaders of CARICOM. As someone who travels the Caribbean often, the thought of being able to simply get off the plane, go through the airport and not wait in an immigration line for processing is mind-blowing.{{more}} This is a historic day for the region.

“It speaks volumes about the importance which our leaders place on the Cricket World Cup and the fact that they recognise the need to extend tournament uniformity to areas such as security and immigration. It also demonstrates the catalytic effect which hosting this event has on structures and institutions which had probably needed revamping for some time.”

At a Press conference on Thursday afternoon, CARICOM officials led by Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister, Hon. Patrick Manning; Barbados’ Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Mia Mottley and Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, Hon. Peter Phillips, revealed their agreement to allow “the free movement of people” among the ten countries for the first five months of next year.

The travelling public will not be required to have their passports “stamped” to clear Customs and Immigration once you are coming from any of the ten countries in the single domestic space.

For international visitors, a similar situation would apply, after being processed in the country in which they first arrive in the region. However, all fans would still be advised to carry their passports for identification purposes.

“This is something we have been working towards as we know it will definitely ease the flow of people going to matches around the Caribbean and remove a major obstacle. Everyone should be able to move around with less hassle,” added Dehring.

“Of course it is a courageous step because if it works well for the event, Caribbean people may well decide that is how they want it to be forever more.”

There will also be a single CARICOM visa which non-Caribbean fans can use for all ten countries instead of the usual practice of acquiring individual visas for each of these Caribbean countries as necessary.

In addition to these two initiatives aimed at dealing with the regional and international fans who will be travelling during the Event, CARICOM announced a US$13 million regional security plan and the formation of a 400-strong regional security force to augment the national security resources of the nine host venues.

It was also announced that the Caribbean would receive assistance from the American, British and French governments in the deployment of their regional plan as well as from Interpol who will establish a regional presence from January.

“The region will be more secure than ever before with the united effort of regional and international intelligence agencies,” Dehring added.

“This is unprecedented and fans who attend this event will be able to enjoy themselves in a safe and peaceful environment,” said Dehring, who sat in on the press conference at the Bernice White Room at the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank.

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