On Monday April 18th 2016, a letter was sent to the President of Parliament from Independent Member of Parliament (MP) Leona Marlin Romeo concerning Visa requirements for persons from the former Netherlands Antilles entering the USA.
Several concerned citizens contacted the Member of Parliament about the issue and it was therefore brought to the attention of the responsible minister on April 14th 2016.
On the US Homeland Security website https://www.dhs.gov/visa-waiver-program-requirements it states that, “The citizens of the new countries of Curacao, Bonaire, St Eustatius, Saba and St Maarten (the former Netherlands Antilles) are not eligible to travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver Program if they are applying for admission with passports from these countries.”
“Whether this is an error or an oversight by the Homeland Security, clarification is still needed as citizens from Sint Maarten frequent American territory regularly, notwithstanding that the information came from the official website of the US Government,” the MP pointed out.
The Member of Parliament also took note of articles written on possible requirements for US citizens wanting to visit Europe. If approved, this would indeed affect Sint Maarten. The Member of Parliament is requesting that the Minister of General Affairs answer the following questions:
- Since the issue visa issue was brought to the Minister’s attention in a meeting on April 4th2016 has contact been made with the US Embassy in Curacao to bring clarity to the matter on visas for the former Netherlands Antilles citizens?
- Will the Minister inform the general public of the findings?
- Should the European Union decide to place a visa requirement on US citizens what are the repercussions for Sint Maarten as a tourist dependent destination.
- Will the Minister responsible for Foreign Affairs address these issues with the Kingdom?
The Member of Parliament Leona Marlin- Romeo noted that matters concerning foreign affairs fall under the responsibility of the Minister of General Affairs and therefore the Member of Parliament finds it pertinent that clarity be given to the public on matters that directly affect them.