FORT DE FRANCE, Martinique, Oct 19- United States Virgin Islands (USVI) Governor John de Jongh said he would seek to encourage visitors from the English speaking Caribbean to his country and is moving to get Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nationals enter the country without the necessary United States visa.
De Jongh, who was here meeting with regional tourism officials on the final day of the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) sponsored State of the Industry Conference (STOIC 2013), told reporters that he had made a proposal this year to the Senate and the House that as part of the Immigration Bill that “CARICOM nationals could come into the US Virgin Islands without having to go through those visa requirements.
“We spoke to the Committee in the House and the Senate and we spoke to US Department of Homeland Security to come up with a regime which they would feel comfortable with for countries within CARICOM and they agreed with it…
“We have written the bill, we have submitted legislation… so we are just looking for the right vehicle for it to pass,” he said, adding that ‘we recognise …the region represents a tremendous opportunity for the traffic that goes back and forth and we would like to have an opportunity to participate without being overburden by some of the regulations”.
De Jongh said that while he had the support of both the Democrats and the Republicans on the initiative, what is required is the “right vehicle” to get the process moving, adding that with regards to a time frame “anyone who knows what US Congress does that would be great”. (2013)
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