CMC: BELMOPAN, Belize – The Belize government has announced new measures regarding the entry requirements into the Caribbean Community (Caricom) country for nationals from Haiti and Jamaica.

The John Briceno government said following a “thorough discussion” on the increasing number of visitors who are using Belize as a transit country to reach the United States, Cabinet has determined that Belize will invoke Article 226 (a) of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas, which governs the 15-member regional integration movement of which both Jamaica and Haiti belong.

According to the government statement, invoking Article 226 (a) of the treaty would “allow for the Minister of Immigration to immediately impose a visa requirement for Haitians wishing to visit Belize and to require Jamaican nationals to provide evidence of fully paid non-refundable hotel reservations prior to boarding flights to Belize.

“In addition, a ministerial task force was set up to address the rampant smuggling occurring in this regard. The ministerial subcommittee will be chaired by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Immigration and will include the Minister of Home Affairs & New Growth Industries and the Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations,” the statement said.

Both Haiti and Jamaica are signatories to the Caricom Single Market and Economy (CSME) that facilitates the right to establishment businesses, to provide regional services, the free movement of capital and the coordination of economic policies.

It also allows for immigration arrangements for the free movement of people within the grouping.