January 06, 2007
BARBADOS and other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries have protested over a bogus website which appears to offer special CARICOM visas for the 2007 Cricket World Cup (CWC), set to begin in the region in March. Barbados’ Deputy Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who is also chairman of the CARICOM ministerial sub-committee on CWC security matters, made the disclosure during a news conference at Sherbourne Conference Centre on Thursday.
Caribbean countries had issued a statement this week warning prospective travellers about the matter, Mottley admitted. She noted that the site, apparently set up a year ago, did not offer the visa form or “anything substantive”, compared to the legitimate CARICOM site. “We have made, however, a report to the international regulatory body that deals with domain sites and we fully anticipate that action will be taken since . . . the CARICOM Secretariat has not given anyone else the permission to use the word CARICOM and it is protected under international property laws of the region,” Mottley told reporters.
The fake site’s address is similar to the real site ““ www.caricomimpacs.org ““ which is operated by the region’s national security co-ordinator, the CARICOM Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS).
The IMPACS site offers an online payment mechanism for foreign travellers to obtain CARICOM visas in addition to other information on the region’s crime and security initiatives. The fake site is on the World Wide Web at caricomimpacs.com and differs only from the authentic site by the commercial domain name. Internet users entering the keywords “caricom visa” were being directed to the fake site by various search engines.