Basseterre (3 September, 2019) – Citizens and residents of the Federation of St Kitts and Nevis had their biometrics taken at the Marriott Hotel last week when the Canadian Government facilitated the process through officers from the Canadian High Commission, Bridgetown. Although the Mobile Itinerant Collection was scheduled to begin on 29th August 2019, twenty (20) individuals who showed up at the Marriott on 28th August 2019, the day the officials arrived, were successfully processed. By the time of closing on Friday, 30th August 2019 approximately 230 nationals and residents had their biometrics collected.
The Hon. Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation highly commended Her Excellency Sherry Tross, High Commissioner of St Kitts and Nevis in Ottawa and her team for their robust engagements with the relevant authorities in Canada especially when the requirement to travel to Trinidad or Barbados was added to the visa application process for fingerprinting purposes. Foreign Minister Brantley himself, along with Prime Minister Harris, was consistent, seizing every opportunity to meet and dialogue with high level Canadian officials in Ottawa and Barbados with the aim of reducing the challenges to nationals applying for visas to Canada. Minister Brantley stated, “The success of the biometrics collection exercise in the Federation is a testament to the need that exists, and I am grateful to Canada for facilitating the process for this to occur right here in St Kitts and Nevis”. The Minister also thanked the citizens who took advantage of the opportunity and wished them success. “This initiative” he posited, “offers a practical example of how cooperation between countries can trickle down to the benefit of our citizens”.
Almost five (5) years ago, the Canadian Government, claiming security reasons, introduced visa requirements for nationals of St Kitts and Nevis travelling to Canada. Minister Brantley, alluding to the advances made by the current Administration to repair this unfortunate situation, is confident, that based on the on the obvious need, and strong bilateral bonds between both countries that this pilot programme will develop into a regular activity, at least in the short to medium term.