Barbados continues to attract pride of place with one of the most powerful passports in the world despite a 65 per cent plummet in the World Openness Score due to COVID-19 lockdown measures and new visa restrictions.
And in its latest assessment of 199 countries judged on the ease with which citizens are able to travel around the world visa-free, the Global Passport Power Rank (GPPR) 2021 Index put the Barbados passport at the 22nd most powerful on earth.
This 166-square-mile island of just under 300,000 people, out-ranked every English, French and Spanish-speaking Caribbean country.
In addition, the index named Bridgetown as the fourth most powerful in Latin America, although as it stated, COVID-19 caused major disruptions to mobility, hindered international travel, was responsible for revoking existing visas to citizens and visitors and rendered passport powers to an all-time low.
“Today, as countries progressively begin to reopen their borders and renew temporary visa bans, the 2021 Passport Index Global Mobility Report reveals what rock-bottom for global mobility looks like during a worldwide pandemic and whether government decisions for lockdown measures were a positive mark for successful containment of the COVID disease, or a cause for bigger concern in closing our world to responsible mobility,” the report stated.
However, the report has issued a caution to Barbados and other countries which hold powerful passports.
“Given the clear volatility of passports, holding one powerful passport no longer poses an advantage. It is critical to secure two or more passports for an improved combined global access, ensure proper shelter and healthcare, and additional protection from more than one state,” the Index study declared.
“If this experience has taught us one thing, it is to be prepared. And passports play a crucial role in ensuring that alternatives are within reach in case of another global crisis,” it added.
Chief Immigration Officer Wayne Marshall also weighed in on the status of the Barbados passport and its value to the ease of travel.
“The Barbados passport has a lot of worth because of the visa status. You don’t need to get visas to go to a lot of jurisdictions with a Barbadian passport. And also a Barbados passport is viewed as a good passport if you are going to apply for a US visa,” Marshall told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
“The Barbados passport is a very good passport in terms of acceptance around the world. I think with the Barbados passport, you can enter I think over 120 countries visa-free as opposed to a number of the other passports. So that builds the status on it,” the immigration chief said.
Marshall also pointed out that the new local digital passport is now much more secure in preventing forgery especially considering past attempts at tampering and replication.
“We have not received a lot of instances or information regarding that type of activity. But for sure, because of the [introduction] of the epassport, it will be very difficult to use a passport if you are not the holder. So that would have cut down the instance of persons trying to use other persons’ passports…because the epassport has a chip in the cover which has to be commensurate with the information on the actual written passport,” he assured.
Germany has been identified as the country with the most powerful passport and Afghanistan, the least.