Prime Minister; “Immigration Department has come a Long Way Since 10-10-10”

Allows for Effective Handling of Proposed Visa Changes

The Prime Minister of St. Maarten the Honorable Sarah Wescot-Williams stated on her Radio Program One on One with the Prime Minister on 98.1 on Friday that the positive restructuring of the Immigration Department will allow for the effective Handling of the new proposed Visa changes.


The Prime Minister stated that while a part of the Immigration Apparatus of the Netherlands Antilles the Department was oftentimes left behind in terms of support, but since 10-10-10 significant improvements have been made; "One of the departments which we took over from the Netherlands Antilles was the Immigration Department. In the Netherlands Antilles days we used to beg the National Government to do something about our immigration department which often fell on deaf ears. However, now we can safely say that the department has made great strides. The department fell under the plans of approach and it has now been reported that they are in full compliance with the plans of approach vetted by the Progress Committee which is also seen by Minister of Kingdom Relations Plasterk. The Immigration Department has been making very good progress and that is why we started to explore new possibilities for people to be able to travel to St. Maarten.

"I think it is important to explain that Visa Policies and Management is something of the Kingdom Government, however there are policy guidelines with respect to the Dutch Caribbean. There is a specific regulation which is called the Columbian Extension Regulation that applies to Colombia and other Countries. We have received a request whether we would mind if that particular policy is also applied to Peru. St. Maarten’s response was that we did not have any issue with that and we also believed that the same exemptions should also be applied to China, India and the United Arab Emirates. St. Maarten as a Country is looking at new possibilities with regards to the economy.

"We also went a little further stating that if you had a National in possession of a Schengen Visa they should then be allowed to have that Visa grant entry into the Dutch Caribbean and more specifically St. Maarten. We as a government are consistently looking at new developments and new networking opportunities for St. Maarten and it is the belief that if you have someone who has gone through the process in obtaining a Schengen Visa why should they again has to go through the process again. The discussions are still taking place on a technical level and have been sanctioned by the Government of St. Maarten. They have now been put forward to the Kingdom Government. These processes are about networking and opening up St. Maarten to the International Community, thus benefitting the people of St. Maarten," commented Prime Minister Wescot-Williams.