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Jamaica to launch CARICOM Passport in January

KINGSTON, Jamaica – Jamaica’s version of the new CARICOM Passport (CP), will be launched in January 2009.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jennifer McDonald, speaking at Wednesday’s (Dec.17) JIS ‘Think Tank’, said that the document will bear the CARICOM logo and the words ‘Caribbean Community’ on the cover.

“It will also bear our Coat of Arms with the word ‘Jamaica’ as the issuing state written underneath. The CARICOM logo will also be imprinted on the inside pages of the document,” the CEO disclosed.

She added that the inside pages of the passport will have perforations and other security features that are contained in the Jamaican passport.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jennifer McDonald

According to Ms. McDonald, the CARICOM Passport is really a Jamaican Passport with the CARICOM logo and features, and Jamaicans will not be disenfranchised in any way in their travels when they use this passport.

“I know many Jamaicans tend to be highly nationalistic and it does not mean that we are losing any of our nationalism by embracing regionalism. In fact, we are becoming stronger and there’s really nothing to fear with the ‘Jamaican’ CARICOM Passport,” she assured.

The CP, which may be used for intra-regional and extra-regional travel, was conceived when Regional Heads of Government agreed on the introduction of the document as a defining symbol of regionalism. It is being adopted as part of measures to facilitate smoother processing of CARICOM nationals transiting the region and is a major thrust of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).

A number of CARICOM states have already introduced the CP including Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Guyana.

According to Ms. McDonald, the CP “is really intended to foster a greater sense of community within the region and will be a tangible demonstration of one’s membership in the Caribbean family”.

She said that the introduction of the CP will not interfere with the validity of current passports. “We will not recall any existing passports. Your existing passport is still a valid travel document. The CP will exist alongside our national passport until the national passport expires,” she advised.

The CP, which is machine readable, will come in three colours: dark blue, which will be for ordinary use; green for officials on Government business; and burgundy red for diplomats. The application process and the application forms for the CP will remain the same as when applying for the regular passport. The cost for obtaining it will be the same at JA$2,500 for adults and JA$1,500 for minors.

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