Four Most Powerful Caricom Passports
During a speech on March 1, 2015, Venezuelan President, Nicolas Maduro, announced that while he was still willing to accept Americans as tourist, 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 of the Tourist Visa would be $30 USD, which should generate more than $1 million USD for Venezuela based on American tourist trends in Venezuela during 2014 according to Venezuela Tourism Ministry data. This development was a striking blow the standing of the USA Passport, which dropped from the second to the third most powerful Passport in the world, for visa free travel. So I thought, what about Caricom? 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 that Trinbagoians could only travel to 100 countries visa free, however, my research indicates that it is 103.
The number three spot goes to St. Kitts and Nevis, which was 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 a diplomatic passport issued by St. Kitts and Nevis in Canada. The holder of the Passport, Mr. Moghadam, was made a special envoy for St Kitts and Nevis to Turkey and Azerbaijan. Mr. Moghadam had allegedly purchased his citizenship for $1 million USD. It appears that Canadian authorities were very displeased with the situation and effective November 22, 2014, Canada imposed visa requirements on citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis. In so doing, holders of St. Kitts passport can now travel to 131 countries visa free, while Antiguans and Barbudans, have the benefit of traveling to 132 countries visa free.
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 The Bahamas or Barbados Passport can travel to 138 countries visa free.
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 and Nevis, looses visa waiver status with two or more countries. Don’t hold your breath on St. Kitts and Nevis dropping in ranking. I wouldn’t be surprised, if St. Kitts and Nevis climbs to the number two spot in a few years. Here’s why, the Hon. Mark Brantley, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, also serves as the Minister of Tourism for the Nevis Island Administration. Over the last two years, Nevis has seen significant improvements the number of airlines into the Island as well as tourist arrivals, under Brantley’s leadership. If Minister Brantley brings the same vigor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, St. Kitts and Nevis, may even stand a chance to challenge The Bahamas and Barbados.
Okay. Yes, I heard you asking the question so I will answer it to close. Haiti has the least powerful Caricom Passport.
-By Theo Alleyne
Theo, a travel professional with more than 15 years of experience, pioneered No USA Visa Cruises™, and Layaway Cruise™. Contact him via email firstname.lastname@example.org.