It has been made easier for non-residents couples to get married in St Vincent and the Grenadines, after the amendment to the Marriage Act 236 was approved in Parliament, March 31.
According to Prime Minister and Minister of Legal Affairs Dr Ralph Gonsalves, the stipulated period of three days in country and the restriction with respect to who could issue marriage licences, did not work in favour of establishing the country as a place of choice for marriage of non-residents.
The amendment to the existing legislation reduces the number of days required for visitors to be in country before they could get married from three days to one, and empowers notaries public to act on behalf of the Registrar General.
“These changes are to facilitate those who would want to come to the destination and get married and move on as has happened in many countries within the Caribbean and the world,” Dr. Gonsalves noted.
The amendment, he added, was recommended by hoteliers, the Ministry of Tourism and other interested parties.
Tourism Minister Carlos James told the Parliament that legal draftspersons in the Attorney General’s Chambers will also bring a supporting marriage delegation of powers notice, which allows for the Governor General, who grants licenses for marriage under the Section 23 of the Marriage Act, to delegate this particular power to district officers and revenue officers residing in the Grenadines, so that they can grant marriage licenses on her behalf.
“This eliminates the process of someone having to travel to a Grenadine Island and then back to the mainland to go through the process of meeting the Registrar General, going to the AG’s office, which would usually take more than one day,” James said.
The Grenadines have been a leading destination for weddings, the Tourism Minister said, “but have fallen off because of these challenges that persons incurred when they chose SVG to get married.”
Dr. Gonsalves assured that the amendments to the Act in no way undermines the solemnity of holy matrimony and does not impact on marriages involving locals.