Prime Minister Gaston Browne said over the weekend that it is “a little strange” that the United States excluded Antigua and two other OECS countries from its visa renewal waiver programme.
Under the policy, citizens who reside in the approved country will not have to travel to Barbados to renew their U.S visa.
However, so far, only St. Lucia, Grenada and St. Kitts and Nevis have been approved for the waiver in the OECS.
Barbados was the first country to benefit.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne questioned the decision to grant three OECS states the waiver and not the others.
“But I find it a little strange that you say you trying to increase efficiency in the processing of visa
“So that individuals who had a visa, all they had to do was to courier their documents to you and they don’t have to come in person.
“We have an economic union comprising six independent islands and you’ve offered it to three of those countries and you left out three.”
Browne hastened to add that he does not know if the U.S will make any announcement about the remaining countries at another time.
The prime minister said Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent and the
“Now that’s their policy and I am not saying this out of any acrimony.
“I accept their policy but I want to know how does that type of
Prime Minister Browne did not comment on why the U.S took this position but Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan says
Antigua, Dominica and St. Vincent have stood firmly on the side of Venezuela as the U.S seeks to expel Caracas from the OAS and take other measures against the Spanish speaking country.
“It is punitive because they did not follow the call or instructions of the United States,” Astaphan said.
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