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St.Vincent & Grenadines: Gonsalves defends visa waiver with Russia

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has responded to persons who have questioned the benefits to Vincentians of the visa-waiver agreement that his government signed with Russia last month.

The agreement was signed even as the United States has not extended to St. Vincent and the Grenadines and three other independent Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States members, the privilege of their citizens not travelling to the US Embassy in Bridgetown as part of the visa renewal process.

Gonsalves said he had heard that persons had questioned the sense in the Kingstown-Moscow visa-waiver agreement.

“Who going Russia? How many Russians coming here,” he said, citing what he said were the comments of his critics.

“As always, people think in a very static manner,” he said, adding that the same thing was said when SVG signed a similar agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

Gonsalves said he remembers that around that time he was going to Young Island to meet with the UAE officials, he met three Vincentian young ladies who lauded the visa-waiver pact.

“Three young ladies, all professional women came out from Mangoz [restaurant] and they said, ‘We are hearing about this thing with the visa waiver, when is it going to happen?’”

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