Bahamas and China Enter into Diplomatic Visa Waiver Agreement

NASSAU, Bahamas – The Bahamas Government and the Government of the People’s Republic of China signed an Agreement Regarding the Waiver of Visa Requirements for Holders of Diplomatic Passports

The Agreement was signed Tuesday, February 17, 2009 in a ceremony at Cabinet Office
during the Official Visit of His Excellency Hui Liangyu, Vice Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China.

“This is a reciprocal Visa Waiver Agreement whereby visa requirements for diplomats from China visiting The Bahamas would be waived, an extension of diplomatic ties between both countries,” said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon Brent Symonette, who signed on behalf of The Bahamas Government.

His Excellency Song Tao, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs signed on behalf of the Chinese Government. The Rt. Hon Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of The Commonwealth of the Bahamas, and the Vice Premier were present for the historic signing ceremony.

The Bahamas has entered into a similar agreement with Haiti and is expected to sign an accord with Cuba on February 26, 2009.

“We are trying to diminish the requirements for visas between certain European and Latin American countries,” Mr. Symonette said.

“We are happy with the transition from non-resident status. We have seen numerous visa and work permit applications processed in Beijing as opposed to the British embassies in the respective countries which took several weeks to complete,” Mr. Symonette said.

“We have also seen a dramatic increase in the number of Chinese visitors to The Bahamas and the turnaround time in those visa applications.”

L-R: His Excellency Song Tao, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs; Vice Premier Hui Liangyu; the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of the Bahamas; and the Hon Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.
(BIS Photo/Raymond A Bethel)

Mr. Symonette also signed a second agreement; an amalgamation of several other agreements with regards to technical assistance that The Bahamas is already benefiting from.

An aspect is the construction of a proposed multi-purpose National Stadium. Construction is expected to begin in short order, he said.

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