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Canada could rethink visas for Grenadians

The removal of the entry visa to Canada for Grenadian citizens is still open for review, according to Minister of State of Foreign Affairs in the North American country, Peter Kent. He made the disclosure when he met with Grenada’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David during a bilateral meeting on the margins of the 65th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York.

“We are aware of the visa issue and let me state that this has nothing to do with the relations between both countries but rather with individuals who took advantage of the economic citizenship program,” said Minister Kent, promising to follow up on the progress of the review.

The economic citizenship program was introduced by Grenada in October 1997 to supplement government revenues. It allowed investors to acquire a legal second passport for a specified minimum investment in the local economy. However, the system came under fire from critics who said it allowed criminals to effectively adopt new legal identities for a price. It was suspended indefinitely in 2001, with the Finance Minister at the time, Anthony Boatswain, saying it was too risky in the wake of the terrorist attacks in the United States. But in December of that year, Canada imposed the visa restrictions on citizens from Grenada, Dominica, Kiribati, Nauru, Tuvalu and Vanuatu, all of which sold passports. Before then, anybody holding a passport from one of those countries could have entered Canada without a visitor’s visa.