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Britain considering visa-free travel for Guyanese

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 August 2022, 19:15 by Denis Chabrol

United Kingdom High Commissioner to Guyana, Jane Miller flanked by Managing Director of the London-based Caribbean Council (left) and President of the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Timothy Tucker. (File picture)

United Kingdom (UK) High Commissioner to Guyana Jane Miller said the British government was considering an assessment that could lead to the removal of visa restrictions on Guyanese travelling to that European country.

“We are looking into it at the moment. I can’t make any promises but it’s obviously something we constantly look at,” she told Demerara Waves Online News, adding that she appreciated that it is important for Guyana-UK relations.

Stressing that the quashing of visas for Guyanese to enter the UK “is constantly on my agenda”, she said the factors that would ultimately influence the decision on whether the retain or remove that travel requirement include business and most important security. “We look at issues of trade between the countries, we look at issues of security and it’s our security team that leads on the whole process,” she said.

But, already the Georgetown Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GGCI)  has said it would be formally reinforcing its request for an end to visa requirements for citizens of this former British colony because of the buoyant business activity between the two countries;.

“The Chamber would like to reiterate its long-standing call for the removal of the visa requirement that exists for Guyanese who wish to travel to the UK. The GCCI is of the view that the removal of this requirement will auger well for continued deepening of economic relations
between the countries and foster private sector development in both territories,” the Chamber said.

Ms Miller’s  comment on Wednesday night came mere hours after the UK flag carrier, British Airways, announced that it would be flying to Guyana from next year. And, Guyana’s Public Works Minister Juan Edghill noted that major revenue sources for that carrier are expected to be Guyanese cargo to the UK and the estimated 3,000 oil and gas sector works who are on rotation every few weeks.

Guyanese require visas to also travel to the US, Canada, the European Union among other countries.

Back in June, 2022 the UK High Commissioner had said total trade between the UK and Guyana last year amounted to 560 million pounds sterling (approximately US$703,769,568), representing 21.6 percent of all trade between the UK and the Caribbean and “making Guyana the UK’s largest trading partner with the Caribbean. Putting the figures into perspective, back in 2011 trade between the two countries totalled 94 million pounds sterling (approximately US$118,126,858).