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With the implementation of the CARICOM Single Domestic Space set for February 1, regional immigration and customs officials throughout the Caribbean are completing their preparation for this regime, which will significantly expedite the movement of persons within the region during the upcoming Cricket World Cup (CWC) 2007 tournament.
Speaking on behalf of the CARICOM Ministerial Subcommittee on Resource Mobilization, O’Neil Hamilton, Special Advisor to Jamaica’s Minister of National Security, has said that “adequate structures have been put in place to ensure that both visitors from the international community as well as CARICOM nationals will be able to transit the Caribbean with minimal encumbrance during Cricket World Cup”.
Mr. Hamilton was speaking yesterday (January 30), after a meeting in Washington, D.C., where he briefed the Inter-American Defense Board (IADB) about security preparations being put in place by CARICOM.
He also discussed the provision of additional assistance from IADB member states, aimed at bolstering the region’s security preparations for Cricket World Cup.
He described the introduction of the Single Domestic Space as a “key element in the region’s thrust to both facilitate greater freedom of movement and to attend to the significant security challenges that will face the region during the hosting of the games”.
Mr. Hamilton stressed that the Single Domestic Space was a fundamental component of the region’s new security architecture and is supported by regional law enforcement and military personnel as well as partners from the international community.
To this end, the CARICOM Ministerial Subcommittee on Resource Mobilization for Crime and Security, under the leadership of its chairman, Dr. Peter Phillips, had held a range of important discussions with political leaders and military personnel from several countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and France.
These meetings have served to forge partnerships, aimed at strengthening CARICOM’s capacity and preparedness and has led to the establishment of an International Support and Advisory Group (ISAG), which has co-ordinated international support.
Reiterating the need for CARICOM to be vigilant with respect to securing the region during the tournament, Mr. Hamilton explained that the imposition of the CARICOM Common Visa Policy was necessary, given the reality that travellers already in the region would not face traditional immigration and customs controls while moving from country to country within the Single Domestic Space.
“It is therefore understandable that an effective vetting process would necessarily have to be implemented in order to ensure the safety and security of the Single Domestic Space. The (CARICOM) visa regime adequately addresses this very critical requirement,” he added.
The CARICOM Single Domestic Space which will be initiated on February 1, 2007, will remain in force until May 15, 2007, approximately two weeks after the conclusion of Cricket World Cup 2007.