An amendment has been made to the territory’s immigration laws that now gives the minister responsible for the subject the discretionary power to personally permit any person into the territory.
This was revealed in Cabinet’s report of its April 24 meeting chaired by Deputy Governor David Archer, Jr.
The post-meeting statement said Cabinet “approved the amendment of the Immigration and Passport Act (CAP. 130) Section 24 by adding a new section 24(a), which would enable the Minister, in his discretion, to grant any person permission to land and remain in the territory for such period, as he may determine.”
The report further said Cabinet made the decision to ‘ensure and maintain the National Security of the territory of the Virgin Islands’.
The amendment also gives the Immigration minister the ability to allow influential persons who would have previously been forbidden to enter the territory.
According to Cabinet, this will now apply “where a person does not qualify to land and remain in the territory under Section 23(1)(g) in cases such as, but not limited to, religious leaders, entertainers, activists, national heroes, sports personalities, motivational speakers and persons who would boost the territory’s tourism product and can add to the substance of the Virgin Islands in the areas of religion, education, sports, culture and tourism.”
The amendment will be drafted by the Attorney General following instructions from the Premier’s Office.
Ninth District Representative Vincent Wheatley is the minister currently responsible for Immigration.
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