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It's Easier In the Spice Islands

It's Easier in the Spice Islands

Less Hassle in Grenada Makes for Happier Yachties

Cruisers and charterers headed for Grenada can look forward to simplified entry documents that will leave them more time to enjoy island life. In the winter of 2006, officials adopted a one-page customs/immigration clearance form to cut by two-thirds the paperwork required when arriving at the country's ports of entry.

The streamlining comes as new marinas are being developed in Grenada and Carriacou, its tiny sister island, and the marine services industry is expanding, according to the Grenada Board of Tourism.

The change in forms, says the GBT, will help keep Grenada competitive as a cruising destination in the southern Caribbean.

Over time, a single customs form was expanded by the port-authority and immigration officers, who all wanted to collect information about people visiting Grenada, says James Pascall, director of Horizon Yacht Charters Grenada and one of the people pushing for simplicity.

"What we had to do was get them all together. All these forms were requesting the same information. We said, 'Right, we propose we put all this on one piece of paper and make it self-duplicating, so we don’t have a lot of paper floating around in the trade winds.'"

With officials realizing that cruisers and charterers bring significant dollars to the local economy, customs and immigration were ready to listen.

Hurricane Ivan delivered a major setback when it leveled the customs office, Pascall says, but the measure got back on track.

The one-page, legal-sized document could save 15 to 29 minutes, depending on how fast a skipper can write.

The next step: "We want to bring St. Vincent and Grenada together," he says. A cruiser headed from Grenada, Carriacou, or Petite Martinique to or from St. Vincent and the Grenadines could then clear in once to visit all the southern Caribbean islands, which are really two countries.