Bartlett calls —and then calls again for the single CARICOM visa

Jamaica’s Tourism Minister, Edmund Bartlett, says a single-visa regime among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries should be the next critical consideration in rationalizing entry protocols in the region.

Bartlett said that the rationalization of the entry protocols “for touristic purposes and can be provided for visitors coming into your space for 30 days or three days.” He said it could be “a simple platform that allows everybody and anybody to apply for a CARICOM visa that allows you entry into all the CARICOM countries.”
Bartlett said the region needs to adopt a new approach to air transportation and develop new ideas about collaboration, using the support of today’s technology.
“Multi-destination tourism is part of the principle of co- petition, where we can offer to visitors coming into our space, multiple experiences across borders. So, when you buy Jamaica, you can get Barbados and you can get St. Lucia and you can get Turks and Caicos,” he added.
The tourism minister said the aim of the Ministry is to establish Jamaica as an aviation hub, “so that big planes coming from the far-flung areas can bring large numbers into our airports and they are distributed by airlines like interCaribbean across the Caribbean and elsewhere.”
But for this to become a reality, Bartlett is suggesting the establishment of preclearance arrangements within the Caribbean, so that arriving visitors in Jamaica are domestic in other countries of the region and vice versa. - Rewritten from CMC1

In Edmund Bartlett's push for a single CARICOM visa, he has underlined the need to remove one of the biggest barriers to freer travel within the Caribbean. A barrier that had been broken down only once in the past, for the 2007 ICC Cricket World Cup, held in eight CARICOM countries.

This Tournament was a momentous success, however the Caribbean nations have a strong distaste for doing this again, for various reasons including logistical ones. Nonetheless, the event was a great success and opened awareness regarding intra-regional travel.

What made this tournament possible was a 'CARICOM Special Visa' issued to permit ease of entry from one CARICOM country to another, without the normal red tape.

Mr. Bartlett is not the first to raise this. Since 2007, there have been other attempts to promote the idea of a 'Single Domestic Space'. Notably, the Prime Minister of Barbados as well as two Prime Ministers of Trinidad and Tobago have all shown the willingness to keep this as 'top of mind' on the CARICOM agenda from as far back as 2013 but then again in 2018 and 2021.

"The Single Domestic Space for intra-regional travel must be the place where we must start if we are serious about the Single market and Single Economy" (Hon. Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados in 2018)2

However Mr. Bartlett's voice is a powerful one and his advocation for promoting international travellers' freedom of movement is important to bring the whole region up in the awareness of travellers from away. Adding it to the consensus may just be the push that this idea needs to bring it to fruition. This would remove perhaps the most significant barrier to intra-regional travel.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley had also promoted the concept in 2018, stating,

In accordance with the St. Ann’s Declaration ... "[E]xamine the re-introduction of the single domestic space for passengers in the Region; We have agreed to work towards having a single security check for direct transit passengers on multi-stop intra-Community flights"3

The dialogue for co-operation is clearly opening up. Recently, Prime Minister Davis of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas has stated, at the '43rd Regular Meeting of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community ' (CARICOM), on July 3, 2022.

“These occasions to meet and work together are a gift, and I know many of you share my determination to make the most of the opportunities they represent,” Prime Minister Davis said at the event, held in Paramaribo, the Republic of Suriname.4

It is important to note that this is a mechanism for visitors mostly from outside the region. There is already a CARICOM 'Passport' for residents which allows for free travel for Nationals of CARICOM countries. However, it may also result in more demand from other Caribbean countries that are not CARICOM members. The combined result will bring a very valuable demand component into the regional travel market and will change the whole market. And this is a big deal.

It should be noted that along with the promotion of the single Visa, Mr. Bartlett, along with PM Holness, are pushing Jamaica as a regional hub but this is really a separate issue. The 'CARICOM Single Visa' would allow for travel within the region for visitors regardless of whichever island becomes the international hub.

Any discussion of the 'Single Domestic Space' presupposes development of AIR links. Air travel is certainly going to be the method most travellers choose. This will elevate the development of regional airlines, especially LIAT. How soon can this happen? Not soon enough for some. But notably, ferry links will become more in demand and this discussion will also be elevated.

"Many people find air travel stressful. Not needing airplanes substantially reduces the cost and hassle of travel. "Many prefer not to use small aircraft (or any aircraft). Also, physically challenged travellers who find air travel inconvenient need consideration. Travellers with bulky equipment (eg: bicycles, scuba gear) might also take advantage of considerable cost savings".5

As well, Prime Minister Mottley had also alluded to the development of sea links as well as air links in her 2020 New Years Address:

"Truly advance the process of a single domestic space for transport and communications in the region by working to provide more affordable and reliable air and sea links between our countries and also to establish a single domestic rate for telecommunications and phone calls within CARICOM"6

The increased ability for local entrepreneurs to move goods around will also be an important advantage, opening new markets for them.

Once the Visa barrier has been taken down, the ability to move around by ferry will become more important. Ferry terminals have far lower logistical problems compared to airports. Ferry transport also attracts lower taxation. It would be the choice for travellers looking for a more economical way to move intra-island and would benefit internal or international travellers equally. Suddenly, whole new styles of travel are available to Caribbean entrepreneurs featuring intra-island travel that might include automobiles.

Ultimately, the taking down of barriers is important because of the overall perception of Caribbean peoples who need to see the wider view. The Caribbean cannot become competitive in the international marketplace when each island is fighting to promote as a solo destination —when they are competing internationally but also between themselves. Removal of barriers will bring opportunities to co-promote.

Altogether, the promotion of the Caribbean as a travel region is going to open all kinds of new opportunities that are not being considered in the present context. This will bring benefits for all: travellers and residents, communities and businesses and this can only be good. Importantly, OECS countries have already moved towards more cooperative tourism development program —so Mr. Bartlett's promotion is building on this at a regional level.

All Caribbean nations need to grab at this opportunity and bring it to reality, and the time is now.

Now that Mr. Bartlett has spoken, the forward movement of the single Visa is more or less assured, now or in the near future. There is no possibility of going back. Any regional politician standing in the way will be seen as regressive. On the other hand, any voice adding to the calls for removal of barriers between nations or between peoples will be important and useful. The future of the Caribbean becoming a more integrated region with tourism as a central tenet is now more in the minds of many people. The possibilities of the sum of all the parts is definitely enhanced.

Mr Bartlett has continued his calls for a single CARICOM Visa.


1. This Caribbean Tourism Minister Wants A Single Travel Visa; (Palmetto Bay, Florida)
2. Exploit efficiencies to deliver benefits for the people of CARICOM and to remain relevant by Volderine Hackett, 2018;
3. Statement – Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley on CSME, December 12, 2018 on the St. Ann’s Declaration, issued at the conclusion of the above-mentioned Special Meeting;
4. Prime Minister Davis says CARICOM connections are more than ‘shared geography’;
5. Stride de Islands by ferry | Caribbean 'slow travel' may be the next wave;
6. 2020 Must Yield Optimism, Determination to Transform Region – PM Mottley 2020 New Year’s Message from the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP Prime Minister of Barbados Chairman of the Caribbean Community, January 3, 2020;

Single Domestic Space

History of the Caribbean Community

CARICOM creates Single Domestic Space for World Cup Cricket - fulfilling an objective of the CSME, February, 2007

"There can be little doubt that the historic Single Domestic Space (SDS) inaugurated on 2 February for the duration of the Cricket World Cup was for the population of the Caribbean Community the realization of a dream. The SDS was established among 10 states, the nine countries which were venues for the games (Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago) and Dominica. It accorded complete freedom of movement within its borders to CARICOM citizens, fulfilling the spirit of one of the basic objectives of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) as set out in Article 45 of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas which states: “Member States commit themselves to the goal of free movement of their nationals within the Community”.

"A CARICOM Special Visa was designed for nationals from outside of the Region to allow them freedom of movement within the Single Domestic Space. This was one of the areas of unprecedented collaboration among Member States for the event which was particularly strong in the areas of security and intelligence-sharing. The new security infrastructure is one major aspect CWC 2007 legacy".

[ The CARICOM Special Visa was in force only for this World Cup of Cricket Event. ]

see also:

Special Visa and the Single Domestic Space in 2006-07

**** Statement By H. E. Edwin W. Carrington, Secretary General, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), On The Occasion Of The Inauguration Of The Caricom Single Domestic Space, Inaugurated: 1 February 2007

"They are the nine host venue countries of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2007 – Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago – together with Dominica, which though not a host venue, has opted to participate."

- o -

Barbados signs on to Contingency Rights Protocol

CARICOM Single Market, the ultimate manifestation of regional integration – PM Holness, 2018

Above 2 articles:

CARICOM Summit in Port of Spain ends - Leaders agree to the re-introduction of a single domestic space, 2013

CARICOM grants deferral to two member countries on freedom of movement, 2019

The CARICOM passport is a passport document issued by the 15 member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for their citizens.;

CARICOM Travel Card (CARIPASS) Treaty, Roseau, Dominica, 11 March 2010; Entry into Force: 12/03/2010

For CARICOM Nationals or residents

Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Haiti, St Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago (All, 12 March 2010)
Saint Lucia (11 March 2010)

Date of Accession:

Guyana (28 April 2010)

Never Let A Good Crisis Go To Waste: Revisiting The CARICOM Single Domestic Space
By Staff Writer, 2021

Regional Transportation, CSME among matters for CARICOM Heads’ attention, 2019

Start with Single Domestic Space for hassle free travel – PM Mottley
By Volderine Hackett, 2018

"“The Single domestic space for hassle intra-regional travel must be a place where we must start if we are serious about the single market and the single economy, [and] It must be the place if we want the buy-in of our citizens”, she said."

Special COTED on transportation matters being held in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by Christopher Lawrence, Feb 18, 2019

"The Meeting will fulfill a mandate from the special session of the Conference of Heads of Government on the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) which was held in Trinidad and Tobago in December last year. At the December meeting, Heads of Government said that they would examine the re-introduction of the single domestic space for passengers in the Region.

They agreed to work towards having a single security check for direct transit passengers on multi-stop intra-Community flights. The Heads of government also decided that they would conduct a special session on Air and Maritime Transportation at the Intersessional meeting of the Conference 26-27 February 2019 to focus “on this critical aspect of integration as a whole and the CSME in particular”. The decisions of the COTED Meeting on Transportation will inform the agenda of that special session."

Remarks by the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP, Prime Minister of Barbados, at the Opening Session of the 31st Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Barbados (Meeting held 18-19 February 2020)

"When we left Castries in July last year, we had no clue that we would be facing a potential pandemic in the world with COVID-19. We didn’t have any idea that our ability to function as a single domestic space would be threatened by that development".

"The creation of the Implementation Agency for Crime and Security in 2006, followed by the Joint Regional Communications Center, was done initially to prepare us for Cricket World Cup 2007. But we understood then that its legacy and its enduring benefits would serve a Caribbean community for much longer".

Jamaica positioning as global logistics hub, says PM Holness

Jamaica is being strategically positioned as a globally competitive logistics hub, and an efficient investment destination, says prime minister, Andrew Holness.

Jamaica Tourism Minister Suggests Single-Visa Regime For CARICOM
By Staff Writer, Last updated Jun 29, 2022

"Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says a single-visa regime among CARICOM member countries should be the next critical consideration in rationalising entry protocols in the region".

Minister Bartlett Sees Potential of CARICOM Visa, Tourism, July 21, 2022

“A regional visa regime is something that we’ve been talking about. I think if we are to build Caribbean tourism, then we must recognise that as individual states, we are too small to grow and to benefit from the recovery of tourism as it now stands, but together as a region, we can grow and we can benefit,” Mr. Bartlett outlined.

Single Visa Regime Suggested For CARICOM Countries, June 23, 2022

Editorial | CARICOM single visa makes sense

Collaboration Integral to Tourism Recovery in The Region – Bartlett, Tourism, July 8, 2022

"While calling for the implementation of a single use visa for visitors, Minister of Tourism, Hon. Edmund Bartlett has reiterated that partnership and the implementation of a multi-destination tourism framework, are necessary to boost the recovery of tourism in the Caribbean".