Monday, April 14, 2003 - Minister for Home Affairs and Gender Relations,
the Honourable Sarah Flood Beaubrun indicated that her ministry has quickly
implemented full control measures at the Immigration Department to effectively
address the administration of passports. Mrs. Flood- Beaubrun also added that
even locals are now required to fill exit immigration forms when leaving the
country for any length of time.
According to the Home Affairs Minister, these measures were instituted in
response to a decision by the Cabinet of Ministers to ensure that St. Lucia
remains a haven for visitors and citizens alike. Mrs. Flood- Beaubrun who was at
the time making her contribution to the 2003-2004 Budget debate last week,
expressed serious concerns regarding the manner in which criminals were able to
escape from the country undetected.
She said “We had a situation here in St. Lucia, where a prisoner left the
country and nobody knew until he was identified in Barbados. Now if that had
been in place he would have had to go through that system and it would have been
noted right there. So Mr. Speaker, effective 17th March 2003, full exit control
have been instituted.”
Minister Flood-Beaubrun also announced that Government has already instructed
its overseas missions to implement tighter control for issuing visas for persons
wishing to travel to St. Lucia. Of even more concern to the Home Affairs
Minister, are the frequent reports by citizens to the Immigration Department, of
She said, last year fifty two passports were re-issued after having lost or
destroyed passports. She stated that this practice must cease and persons will
have to give very good reasons for a replacement. The Minister also indicated
that the Immigration Department will lengthen the time it takes to issue a new
passport in order to enhance security.
According to the Minister, emergency passports will only be issued after the
applicant has satisfactory produced real proof of an emergency, such as medical
documents authenticated by a medical institution.