Caricom’s four most pow­er­ful pass­ports

The Star (St. Lucia) - - TRAVEL - By Theo Al­leyne

Dur­ing a speech on March 1, 2015, Venezue­lan Pres­i­dent, Ni­co­las Maduro, an­nounced that while he was still will­ing to ac­cept Amer­i­cans as tourists, he was adopt­ing a se­ries of re­stric­tive mea­sures on Amer­i­can cit­i­zens for na­tional se­cu­rity rea­sons. One such re­stric­tion is a new tourist visa re­quire­ment for Amer­i­can cit­i­zens trav­el­ing to Venezuela. The cost would be US$30 which should gen­er­ate more than $1 mil­lion, based on Amer­i­can tourist trends in Venezuela dur­ing 2014, ac­cord­ing its tourism min­istry data. This devel­op­ment was a strik­ing blow: the stand­ing of the USA pass­port dropped from sec­ond to third most pow­er­ful in the world for visa-free travel. So I won­dered: What are the four most pow­er­ful pass­ports in Caricom for visa free travel?

Trinidad and Tobago holds the num­ber four spot. Yes, ladies and gen­tle­men, hold­ers of a pass­port from the land of the Scar­let Ibis or Flamingo can travel to 103 coun­tries around the world with­out a visa. Some data­bases in­di­cate Trin­bag­o­ni­ans can travel only to 100 coun­tries visa-free but my re­search in­di­cates oth­er­wise.

The num­ber three spot goes to St. Kitts and Nevis, which tied with An­tigua and Bar­buda for the num­ber two spot through­out most of 2014. You may re­call that in De­cem­ber 2013, St. Kitts and Nevis cit­i­zen­ship by in­vest­ment pro­gramme (CIP) made in­ter­na­tional head­lines when an Ira­nian na­tional pre­sented in Canada a diplo­matic pass­port is­sued by St. Kitts-Nevis. The holder of the pass­port, a Mr. Moghadam, was made a spe­cial en­voy for St. Kitts-Nevis to Turkey and Azer­bai­jan. Mr. Moghadam had al­legedly pur­chased his cit­i­zen­ship for US$1 mil­lion. The Canadian au­thor­i­ties were not im­pressed. Ef­fec­tive Novem­ber 22, 2014, Canada im­posed visa re­quire­ments on the ter­ri­tory’s cit­i­zens who can now travel to 131 coun­tries visa-free, while An­tiguans and Bar­bu­dans have the ben­e­fit of trav­el­ing to 132.

The num­ber one most pow­er­ful Caricom pass­ports be­long to The Ba­hamas and Bar­ba­dos. Maybe this should not sur­prise us since the Ba­hamian dollar shares the same value as the US dollar, and the Bar­ba­dian dollar has held con­stant at 50 cents to the US dollar. Hold­ers of a pass­port from The Ba­hamas or Bar­ba­dos can travel visa-free to 138 coun­tries.

In the near fu­ture, Trinidad and Tobago will add 26 more visa-free coun­tries in Europe but it will not im­prove its rank­ings un­less, St. Kitts-Nevis loses visa waiver sta­tus with two or more coun­tries.

Is any­one sur­prised that the Caricom coun­try with the least pow­er­ful (the weak­est?) pass­port is Haiti?

Theo Al­leyne, a travel pro­fes­sional with more than 15 years ex­pe­ri­ence, pi­o­neered No USA Visa Cruises™, and Lay­away Cruise™. Con­tact him via email theo@cruise­andrail.net

Deputy Prime Min­is­ter and Min­is­ter of For­eign Af­fairs Brent Sy­mon­ette of The Ba­hamas holds up a

Ba­hamian Diplo­matic e-pass­port.

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