JM | Feb 23, 2023

Chang: We cannot allow Jamaica to be an illegal transit point for Cubans

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

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Dr Horace Chang, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Security.

With the recent decision by the Government to remove visa-free transit for Cubans, effective March 13, 2023, sparking several public discussions, the Ministry of National Security says this is to prevent Jamaica from being used as an illegal transit point.

In statement today (February 23), National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang said the recent information in the public domain regarding the Government’s decision to equalise the visa regime for Cubans transiting the country’s ports has not benefited from all the facts.

“For the period July 2022 to December 2022 tens of thousands of Cuban nationals transited Jamaican ports en route to Central America and did not return. The return has always been a part of transit arrangements that were in place,” said Chang.

(Image: Digital Nomad World)

“While transiting Jamaica with return tickets has never required a visa, data however indicates that, over the last three years, and in particular over the last year, there have been significant breaches of this arrangement by Cuban nationals. Based on the abuse of this arrangement, the Government of Jamaica took the decision to equalise the visa arrangements for Cuban nationals visiting and transiting Jamaica,” Chang outlined.

The minister also noted that a visa regime was always in place for Cubans entering Jamaica, which remained unchanged.

Chang said that, despite the Government’s decision on the matter, Jamaica still maintains a positive relationship with the people of Cuba and their government.

Cubans are currently allowed to transit through Jamaica without visa restrictions.


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