Tuesday, February 1, 2005 - Director of Tourism, Hilary Modeste has
highlighted the need for Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries to do
more to ease the hassle facing nationals when travelling throughout the region.
According to the high ranking tourism official, it has become increasingly
difficult to travel the region, not because of inadequate scheduling on the part
of the airlines, but primarily due to the complex processing format and
attitudes of Caribbean immigration officials.
“What is the point of having a special area that says CARICOM nationals, and
when you get there, customs officers spend ten minutes looking at your passport
and grudgingly allowing you in. I think if we are very serious about this, and
certainly the Caribbean, which is so dependent on tourism, then there has to be
a different attitude on the part of our immigration people towards our
visitors”, Mr. Modeste said.
His comments came in the wake of many CARICOM countries like St. Lucia,
reporting record numbers of inter-regional travel. Mr. Modest is of the view
that these statistics could swell even further, with a more efficient and
visitor-friendly processing system in place for regional tourists.
Mr. Modeste also underscored moves afoot at bringing the CARICOM Single Market
and Economy (CSME) on stream, which in itself, calls for easing of restrictions
on the movement of labour.