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Saint Lucia Government offers Amnesty to Foreign Nationals

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Tuesday, September 5, 2006 – Guyanese are expected to be the biggest grouping to benefit from the Amnesty for CARICOM nationals who have been living illegally in Saint Lucia.

The Prime Minister 's Press Secretary Earl Bousquet says the decision was made in part to sensitivity for the strong links that exists between Guyanese and St. Lucians.

“Nonetheless this is an amnesty for all CARICOM nationals irrespective of which country they come from. Of course we know St. Lucians left for Guyana in the early 1950's to mine gold and several have children here, some of whom have taken up residents in Saint Lucia. But there are many people from different parts of the CARICOM region.”

The Press Secretary says it is an opportunity that should be seized because after the expiration date, the full force of the law will be felt.

“By January the first of next year - 2007, Amnesty will be granted and it will allow such persons to regularize their status once they have been living in Saint Lucia for three years or more. The fees that they would not have been able to pay for, for those years will be waived. The Prime Minister has also indicated that the government will allow those persons to regularize their status. For example if they want to become permanent residents they will have to pay the fees to come permanent residents and if they want to become citizens they will have to pay the fees to become citizens.”

The Amnesty will not be applicable to persons with criminal records and strict measures will be adopted to keep such persons out of the programme. A special unit will be established in the Ministry of Home Affairs to administer the program. More details on the program will be disseminated to the public at a later date.

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