BASSETERRE, ST. Kitts, Feb 1 – Opposition Leader Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says he fears the decision by United States President Donald Trump to ban nationals from seven Muslim countries could have an effect on the island’s tourism and education sectors.
Trump announced last weekend a temporary ban on persons from Yemen, Iraq, Sudan, Syria, Somalia, Iran and Libya entering the United States.
Speaking on his weekly radio programme, Dr. Douglas said that the ban appears to include also persons with green card or those who at the moment have residency status and are awaiting to be advanced to citizenship of that country.
“So the question arises in our minds, will this affect us here in St. Kitts and Nevis? Will this affect us here in the Caribbean region? How will this affect black people and people of a different faith to that which we practice here in St .Kitts and Nevis and in the western world at this moment in time?”
Dr. Douglas noted that the economic pillars of tourism and hospitality services that drive the economy in St. Kitts and Nevis are likely to be affected by the order.
“We are aware that one of the important pillars that drive this economy, is tourism and hospitality services. This means freedom of travel, freedom of movement into our country from the market areas that our tourists and visitors are coming from. Because of globalization, a lot of the traffic in the movement of these people will take them through the United States of America. Will this in any way then impede the free flow and movement of people to St. Kitts and Nevis as tourists?” asked Dr. Douglas.
He noted also that with several overseas medical schools based here, he wanted to know what would be the status of overseas students who may have come from some of the countries with the ban.
“What about those who are resident here who contribute about 15 per cent of our GDP (gross domestic product) as a result of being students in our very many institutions of higher learning located here in St. Kitts and Nevis, but which cater mostly for overseas students?
“Are they going to be impeded in travelling into and out of St. Kitts and Nevis, if their route normally will take them through the United States of America?”