The Government of Grenada has signed a historic visa waiver with the People’s Republic of China, making Grenada the fifth country in the world and the first in the OECS to benefit from such an agreement.
The signing took place on Wednesday between Grenada’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Hon. Clarice Modeste Curwen, and the People’s Republic of China’s Ambassador to Grenada, Madame Ou Boqian.
It comes on the heels of the 10 year celebration of bilateral relations between Grenada and China and is an agreement that is expected to result in increased cooperation between both countries.
Ambassador Ou acknowledged that for the last 10 years there has been a rich bilateral relationship between both states and that the waiver agreement is a new step in strengthening those ties.
“This is a strong indication that the relations between our two countries are becoming stronger and stronger,” she said. “..It is very important for us to provide the adequate facilities for personnel to engage in friendly exchanges between the two sides. I do believe that in the future the exchange between the two sides will grow even larger by the facilitation that these official documents will provide to us.”
Minister Modeste Curwen referred to Wednesday’s signing as a momentous occasion since it will not only facilitate opportunities for further diplomatic, and governmental exchanges, but also more people-to-people interaction. “Over the years we have had quite a number of visits from China, but up till now it has been largely higher-level persons on government-to-government business, but as our relationship strengthens we need to have more people-to-people exchanges of the ordinary people so that there is a strengthening of the relationship and a better understanding of our cultures,” she said.
The Foreign Affairs Minister said although the visa waiver allows for Grenada passport holders to enter China and China passport holders to enter Grenada, there are certain international regulations that must be respected. “We know that even with this signing we will be bound by certain international regulations that must be observed by both countries, but as far as we are concerned as two independent countries, there is a lot that we can do through this exchange.”
The waiver will come into effect once all internal procedures are completed.