JIS News

Prime Minister, The Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller has dismissed suggestions that the imposition of the new passport requirement by the United States is linked to CARICOM’s collective decision to support Venezuela for the non-member seat on the UN’s Security Council.
Speaking at a press conference in Antigua last evening (October 30),Mrs. Simpson Miller emphasized that the US decision was based on the need for more stringent border security, adding that the decision was taken prior to the Security Council vote.
“Who in the world did not know that this was in the making?” she questioned. “This was not something that just came up since Venezuela and Guatemala were vying for the position on the Security Council. It was before,” she advised.
Mrs. Simpson Miller added that Jamaica has maintained a principled position when voting on these issues. “It is not about liking one country or disliking one country. From time to time we vote and take decisions that some countries will not like,” she pointed out.
The Prime Minister said she did “not believe that the United States and their policies have anything to do with the Security Council”, adding that the United States had indicated its decision on the passport requirement “long before now”.
To address the potential fallout in the regional tourism sector in light of the passport decision, Mrs. Simpson Miller said that if CARICOM’s lobbying efforts did not bear fruit, public relations campaigns would have to be intensified in order to encourage Americans to get their passports.
In fact, the Prime Minister pointed out that Jamaica has been doing quite well, with recent checks indicating that only five per cent of US visitors do not have a passport.
The Prime Minister will return to the island today (October 31), following her visit to Antigua and Barbuda where she addressed a Joint Sitting of Parliament at the new building on October 30.