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Switzerland offers visa-free arrangement to government officials

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Contact:  Shannon Lebourne


Friday 20 May 2011  Saint Lucian diplomats  and holders of official passports are now able to travel to and from Switzerland without any restrictions.


The signing of the Visa Waiver Agreement between the Governments of Saint Lucia and Switzerland, is meant to facilitate Saint Lucians diplomats who frequently travel to Geneva to participate in meetings and forums of international agencies like the World Trade Organisation (WTO).


Speaking at the signing ceremony, Acting Prime Minister Honourable Lenard Montoute explained that the agreement is critical in ensuring that Saint Lucia is effectively represented at these international gatherings in Geneva.


“The signing of the Visa Waiver Agreement for diplomats and officials travelling from Saint Lucia to Geneva in particular, is a welcomed development because there are many international agencies based in Geneva and as a result many of our officials travel to Geneva to attend meetings and participate in different functions of those international agencies.


“It becomes very tedious given the frequency which our officials have to travel to get visas from Caracas because that's where the head of Switzerland for our region is based. Sometimes because of the short notice it is very inconvenient; now that we have a waiver of the visa requirement, this will ease the strain and pressures that we have to go through to acquire a visa. I think this is just the first step in strengthening and deepening the co-operation  that exist between our two countries.”


Minister Montoute also expressed heartfelt gratitude to the government and people of Switzerland.


The signing of the visa waiver agreement between the governments of Saint Lucia and Switzerland is the culmination of negotiations which began at the end of 2008.

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