Anthony Gunn Has A Plan For Cricket Visas – But To Implement It, Government Would Have To Admit Deception Or Idiocy

God Bless Anthony Gunn

Mr. Gunn is the Turkish Honorary Consul General To Dominica, and Director of Beachcombers Hotel in St. Vincent. He has been working hard to try to convince CARICOM to scrap the necessity for travellers to obtain Cricket visas prior to boarding their flights to come to the Caribbean.

Mr. Gunn’s concern is that, like just about everybody except the idiots in charge of the visa program, he realizes that the current visa programme was announced too late to be properly implemented abroad – and especially in countries that did not previously have to have visas to travel to the Caribbean. The recent fiasco about Pakistani citizens having to send their passports to India for approval is just one small, but outrageous example of what the world press is now commonly referring to as the “World Cup Visa Chaos”.

Mr. Gunn has come up with an idea to staff each airport with enough employees and tables to allow for visa issuance as cricket fans arrive…

… and that, my friends, will NEVER be implemented by Mama Mia Mottley and her friends. Mottley claims that the cricket visas are all about security and background checks to ensure that bad folks don’t make it onto airplanes and to the games. Mottley’s crew (A Mottley Crew? 🙂 ) have staked out this position despite the obvious flaws in their arguments and holes in the implementation.

mia-mottley-finger-1.jpg anthony-gunn-turkey-cricket-visa.jpg mia-mottley-finger-1r.jpg

Mottley Has Backed The Entire Region Into A Corner And Isn’t Big Enough To Admit The Mistake

In Miss Mottley’s eyes, Mr. Gunn’s idea would only have merit if security checks could be done instantaneously and effectively via computer in real time from every airport in the region. I suppose this could have been implemented with a year or two lead time – but people are already starting to arrive for the games that are only a few weeks away.

So the security check computer system is not going to happen, and without eating several helpings of tasty crow, Mottley won’t be able allow Mr. Gunn’s idea unless it includes real-time-at-the-airport security checks… and that is not going to happen.

Mr. Gunn’s folks should fly to a country where they don’t need a visa to enter – and then take a boat to Barbados and the other islands where the games are taking place…

… because the Mottley Crew has decided that persons traveling on the water are not a security threat and do not need cricket visas.

Mr. Gunn was kind enough to send us his idea, which we are reprinting in it’s entirety below. Ian Bourne also has some thoughts about Mr. Gunn’s ideas – that you can see if you head over to Bajan Reporter. (link here)

CRICKET WORLD CUP VISA SOLUTION?

For years now, I have maintained that the two best things to recently happen to the Caribbean are CSME (Caricom Single Market & Economy) and the Cricket World Cup 2007.

Every now and again, we humans need “something hard” to make us stop and take stock and re-focus, and since the Caribbean was not likely to start a war with anyone [it will interfere with carnivals and cricket matches] or some other focus-grabbing activity, we settled on CSME and http://www.cricketworldcup.com , popularly known as the “Caribbean Olympics”.

This sentiment is because these two important things are not easy, they are hard!

Also for years now, we were urged, and rightly so, to “get prepared” for the biggest single event to ever happen to us since the Atlantic plate drove itself under the Caribbean plate and these beautiful islands were formed from deep inside Mother Earth.

And so it came to pass that most of the general public are prepared, the private sector is all prepared, and we observe by way of all manner of jokes and bemusement, that the stadiums might just barely be ready in time for the opening hour of the games, as hopefully the paint has dried in the tropical sun, and the final few nails are driven.

I drove right into the frenzy that is the construction zone at the Arnos Vale stadium in St. Vincent a few days ago and from my very simple vantage points, I am sure they will pull it off OK and already the playing field grass looks absolutely amazing and very beautiful.

Similar news from around most of the other construction zones indicate the usual last minute rush expected [and needed] but that the stadiums should be ready in time.

So far, so good!

Then, as a hotelier, we get our first email in December, from one of our European Agents warning that some of their clients were NOW finding out that they will require visas which are nigh upon impossible to obtain now, at this late stage; hence cancellations are inevitable.

After all, visitors expected to the Caribbean, for cricket or not, are often busy people who have neither the time nor the focus to send passports away to some regional office for up to 2 weeks [yeah, right – try longer than that!] plus now pay a further US$100 per person on top of that!

Since then the stories have hit the media of those who say relax all is well over to those who preach fire and damnation upon our heads.

The reality, as usual, is somewhere in between.

No question that this whole “visa thing” is way too late and that’s that…

All things considered and after chatting directly with a number of high-level officials and reading about the points of view of all others, I think we now HAVE to do something hard and fast.

Consider the family of 2 parents and 4 kids. Booked, paid for and confirmed tickets and reservations etc.; from some time ago.

Plus when they booked their trips, all Caribbean web sites and general info said they do not need visas [normally], and since they don’t usually get the Caribbean daily newspapers and emailed news reports, they arrive in the Caribbean …

They have no visas… Now what?

Do we send them back home on the next plane?

Sure, why not just shut down the tourism industry right now and forget about it all?

A SOLUTION!

Inbound visas upon arrival!

At each major inbound airport, we can set up tables with 12 to 20 persons staffing these tables, processing visas upon arrival.

Accept cash, credit cards and travelers checks. We have to do that otherwise what if someone does not have a credit card on them?

Now do we send them back?

It is time the Caricom Officials wake up and realise that they have no choice but to deal with this pressing issue as the private sector would deal with it, as a sensitive commercial issue and of course security is critical but if we have no tourism industry next year then what?

Turkish visitors to the Caribbean who do not usually need visas now have to have one.

Turkish Honorary Consul Generals from around the Eastern Caribbean have informed Ankara via the regional Embassy in Havana of this development and stand by to help where needed.

Regards,

Anthony Gunn
Director – Beachcombers Hotel Ltd. – St Vincent
Turkish Honorary Consul General to Dominica

19 Comments

Filed under Africa, Barbados, Barbados Tourism, CARICOM, Cricket, Politics & Corruption, Traveling and Tourism

19 responses to “Anthony Gunn Has A Plan For Cricket Visas – But To Implement It, Government Would Have To Admit Deception Or Idiocy

  1. pride

    “Pride is listed as one of the seven deadly sins” vigourously denounced by most religions

    “Excessive pride also manifests itself as arrogance, the act of obtaining rights or advantages, including vainglorious or rhetorical advantages, sometimes through violence or threat of violence, or through verbal violence” wikpedia

    Can someone comment on the rationale of why our politicians seem to have an over abundance of false pride combined with complete arrogance and stupidity.

  2. akabozik

    “Can someone comment on the rationale of why our politicians seem to have an over abundance of false pride combined with complete arrogance and stupidity.”

    Answer: Because we have always let them get away with it in the past.

  3. akabozik

    BTW freepress, I enjoy it immensely when you reprint those photos of mia fingerpointing. So appropriate! So MIA!

  4. John

    Maybe this whole visa thing is to direct people to the cruise liners!!

  5. Bajanboy

    I’m sorry, but Anthony’s idea makes no sense and would likely be a logistical nightmare. I would imagine the granting of a visa is more that just stamping a passport; otherwise there would be no point to the visas in the first place (unless it is just there to collect money). There should be some background check on the applicant as a minimum, and this could not be done quickly and effectively at the airport.

    The only solution at this stage is to get rid of the visa completely.

    If there was a terrorist plot afoot, don’t you think terrorists couldn’t be recruited from a country that does not require visas?

  6. Jerome Hinds

    John says, ‘ maybe this whole visa thing is to direct people to the cruise liners!!’

    I think your suggestion have begun to unfold the plot, John !!!

    It all leads back to the Cabinet of Barbados decision of March 9th 2006 when the Cabinet authorised, (1) the BTA to spearhead negotiations with a commercial cruise line company to provide accomodation for CWC 2007 (2) the Minister of Finance ( OWEN $$$$ ARTHUR ) to issue a letter of credit/ letter of comfort ( CBC style !!) or some other guarantee and/or payment acceptable to the ship’s owner to secure the vessel for Barbados.

    The BTA considered Carnival Destiny and with the services of negotiating consultants ‘ Landry & Kling Meetings at Sea’ a Florida based company with experience in securing such services for other world events like US Super Bowl and Olympics. It was agreed to Charter Carnival Destiny for the on sea accomodation.

    The capacity of the vessel is 2, 632 passengers double occupancy, but can handle a maximum of 3,400 passengers since some rooms can accomodate triple or even quadruple occupancy, a trend which is common in the cruise industry.

    The cost of the charter from 8th April to May 6th , 2007 is US$ 14,068,000.00. The contract is based on standard charter hire provisions and includes round trip transportation on the vessel, four (4) captain’s receptions , all gtratuities, cost of provisioning and staff.

    QUESTIONS ???

    Who really paying for this lavish CWC 2007 BASH ???

    Passengers or the Government of Barbados ???

    Can we really recoup these expenses (US $ 15,000,000 ) ????

    How much ‘ KICK BACK ‘ going to MIA and
    ‘ Muscle Mary’ and the other BLP charlatans for this outrageous deal???

  7. reality check

    not “kickbacks” Jerome—facilitation or consulting fees paid preferably to an offshore account

    the answer is we will never know unless we kick the bandits out and put in a regime that is prepared to diligently and scruplously audit the money trail with the help of international authorities as is being done in Trinidad.

    Thompsons continued silence on transparency laws demonstrtaes he is not the man to lead the DLP even though he is in the seat of power for the opposition at the moment.

  8. Jerome Hinds

    Reality Check, says, ‘ Thompson’s continued silence on transparency laws demonstrtaes he is not the man to lead the DLP even though he is in the seat of power for the opposition at the moment.’

    I agree that Transparency laws should be part of a nation celebrating 40 yrs of nationhood. Bear in mind also that the current BLP administration has been in power for over 12 yrs with 2/3 majority in each new parliamentary grouping. But STILL no transparency laws in place !!

    It is obvious it suits them to keep in that way !!!

    David Thompson has on a number of occasions both inside and outside of parliament called for such laws – as recent as the disclosure about the arbitration process with the Warrens buliding as well as the on-goings at UDC etc.

    But in reality, no pun intended, if the BLP with its parliamentary majority is serious about the citizens concerns they should get the bill on the floor of the House of Assembly.

    Then the DLP as a responsible opposition party ably led by David Thompson will support it.

    Failing that, then Thompson will have to wait until these BLP charlatans leave office to make the change you and thousands of other Barbadians wish to see in place…!!

    Will we be willing to chase these BLP hoots out of office ???

    That’s the issue……!!!

  9. reality check

    introducing a private members bill into Parliament with all the details in advance for the public to view will go a long way to guaranteeing a DLP win in the next election—even if it hasn’t got a chance of passing Parliament

    he doesn’t need to wait—actions speak louder than more talk and promises

    the issue is leadership not more promises

    and yes the present crew needs to be turfed and their facilitators fired

  10. Jerome Hinds

    Moving a private members Bill on the floor of the house is interesting, if we can recall the former opposition leader (Clyde Mascoll) did so to get the UDC boss to come before the PAC. Naturally it was shot down by the gov’t majority. While such action is good PR, the real object is to get the thing passed into law.

    Just imagine Mascoll tried – through a private Members Bill – the Gov’t shot it down. Obrien Trotman returned to his job at UDC – Hammie Lashley who tried to remove Obrien got shifted – AND THE UDC WOES CONTINUES……

    That is a Private Member’s Bill in reality !!!

    The DLP cannot only rely on the introduction of transparency laws alone to get them into the gov’t.

    The electorate demands and deserves a wider mix !!!

  11. ILLUMINATOR

    I think we are in a very sad situation as i think the opposition is chomping at the bits to get into the trough as well. The good thing ( fingers crossed ) is that they will probably behave themselves at first and actually do some good as much attention will be on them . Another angle though , is that so much damage might have been done by this administration that they might decide to benefit themselves as much as possible because the job is just too hopeless.

    Who knows , maybe if we just expected more from our politicians thats what we would get . They do come from amongst us( unlike some other countries ) , so in theory at least some of them should know what the ‘common man ‘ goes through . Many of them seem to forget this and that their real job is to serve the people when they get in to power . Is this what the ‘system ‘does or does their true nature just come out when they come to power .

  12. John

    “We don’t have to settle for less ..”

  13. BFP

    Up late or up early, John?

    M

  14. Andy

    I have now sent 14 emails to the official visa helpline. Still no response. This is getting more ludicrous by the minute.

  15. Adrian Loveridge

    BajanBoy…

    Anthony Gunn’s suggestion could have been workable and would have taken all this chaos and the cancellations out of the equation.

    All the Visa issuing offices had to do was to encourage people to apply online with any information they required.
    Each applicant could then print-off a bar coded receipt which would be exchanged for a passport stamp on arrival.

    I cannot see that this would have been anymore difficult (or expensive) than setting-up high rental centrally located offices days before the visa comes into effect in cities like Sydney.

    The conception and implementation of this Caricom visa requirement has been badly thought through. Asking citizens of Sri Lanka and Pakistan to courier their passports to India is a classic example.

    We have already had cancellations (so far a total of 32 nights) because some guests are simply not willing to go through the aggravation and expense of trying to obtain the visa.
    It is not just the US$100 per person visa fee.
    Some offices are charging a supplementary handling fee plus the applicant has to pay courier charges in both directions.

    And the question should be asked, is it really going to make our borders any more secure?

  16. Bajanboy

    Ok, Adrian, what you suggest could work. I was thinking that all of the processing was to be done at the airport.

    I am surprised that Caricom did not hold any consultations with stakeholders before implementing this visa (or did they?)

  17. Adrian Loveridge

    NO! BajanBoy they did not.

    Not with CHA, CTO, the 10 national marketing agencies or the ten hotel and tourism associations.

    Can you imagine that?

    At a meeting held in Georgetown in November to discuss the implementation, ff the 10 Ministers of Tourism invited only two turned up!

  18. Andrew

    I have just arrived home after a week in Barbados and my family enjoyed the experience in many ways. The visa payment was not one of them and ultimatly Barbados was lucky to have won our business. Travel agents are telling people not to go to the country at the moment because of this high additional cost.

    I think the motivation of the visa is misguided and will damage the island for some time. Many potential tourists will just remember, perhaps every year they are planning their winter sun vacation, that their travel agent warned them that Barbados is expensive because of the high cost of visas.

    The negative impact this has on people’s experience of arriving in the country and having to pay this cost will also resonate. The visa system is poorly managed and communicated. Immigration officials at the airport did not know the details of how and who to apply the visa costs too. Tourists are asked to wait and be processed. We were ‘lucky’ it only added and hour to arrival process (even though it stopped us having the chance of buying dinner that night), others had longer to wait and why?

    There is simply no security issue here, you can arrive at the airport and buy a visa for a $100 US.

    There is no financial reason for the country; the visa is not applied to the countries that will be sending the most cricket fans, the UK for example.
    It is also dangerous for the country to concentrate on this sector of tourists, cricket fans for me do not represent an attractive demographic of high spending tourists. To concentrate on this group at the expense (literally) of non cricket fans is a very odd strategy.

    Barbados can do better out of tourism but it has to get its own priorities in order. This visa issue is a scam and will have a negative impact. You deserve better politicians.

    You have a beautiful island; don’t waste this asset by driving people elsewhere. After all what do you want, visa revenues or the much higher amount spent by tourists on their stay?

  19. Kevin

    I think its a bad idea to make visas that easy to get when before it was all about background checks and how secured it was to get a visa.