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20% discount for persons who travel frequently by sea – Premier

BVI News Online - Thursday, July 25th, 2013 at 2:41 PM

Road Town Ferry Dock. * Photo credit: Fast Photo/Bradley Vanterpool

Premier Dr. D Orlando Smith has announced that his government will initiate a card to facilitate a reduction in the amount of money frequent travelers pay in departure taxes at local sea ports.

Premier Smith, who is also Minister for Finance, today indicated that the discount will be approximately 20% of the departure tax when it is increased.

He recently announced that the departure tax at all sea ports will be increased from $5 to $10 for BVI residents and to $15 for Non-BVI residents. They will also pay an additional $5 for security.

Addressing the House of Assembly today, Premier Smith stated that, in addition to raising the departure tax, his government also considers persons who travel frequently during the week to do business.

In light of that, he said: “We will be introducing Madam Speaker what you call a Frequent Traveler Card where the persons who purchase a frequent traveler card – maybe purchased for a week or maybe for a month – will be given a discount on these fees; a discount of approximately 20%.”

Premier Smith did not say how the beneficiaries will be selected for the discount.

Discrimination against visitors?

During a debate regarding the impending departure tax, Opposition member of the House Alvin Christopher claimed that the revenue measure may be interpreted as being discriminatory because visitors will be required to pay more.

“I don’t think I have the power and authority to tell the government not to raise taxes, but this schedule change Madam Speaker is one that is troubling a lot of people…” he said.

Christopher (file photo)

“As a territory which depends heavily on tourism, Madam Speaker, I think if you gonna raise taxes, we should make it equally across the Board because we done want to be in a position where we discriminate against our guests who come to visit us. I believe taxes should always apply fairly across the board in whatever form of fashion.”

That concern raised by Christopher wad quickly shot down by government members Alvera Maduro Caines, Archibald Christian and Premier Smith.

They argued that, in most Caribbean countries and even here in the BVI, visitors are usually required to pay more in certain taxes, when compared to residents.

“This is something that is not new, and there are many other fees in the territory which apply differently for Belongers and non-Belongers,” Premier Smith noted.

Making her contribution, Maduro-caines said: “If you really look around in most of the Caribbean islands, taxes are not across the board; the visitors pay one thing and the locals pay another. And I often travel to St. Kitts; my husband pays less than I do when we are leaving.”

More later.

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13 Comments

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  1. BuzzBvi
    July 27, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

    Get rid of the people who can not run the ferries and bring on some fresh, hungry, excited interested, inventive and customer oriented people who care about the BVI.
    Be courageous and tell your powerful families and friends that the free ride is over the country needs something better.
    No we are going to use Government money to give new ferries to failed organisations.
    Ever backward the BVI.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Jane
    July 26, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    this is becoming very embarrassing. it seems that Dr. Smith and friends are making it up as they go along. Why raise taxes then offer a discount by issuing cards (which are going to cost money). How do you monitor the issuing the process…. I am not a Frazer fan but I think he has a point – I am beginning to lose confidence in Dr. Smith and yes I voted for the NDP. I wonder how do they measure benefit to the people of the territory. I am very confused at a lot of things being implemented by this government. Maybe it is just me.

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  3. Pretty
    July 26, 2013
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    sounds like a deal for NDP supporters and friends

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  4. Free Soul
    July 25, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

    Now I know I did not waste my money on tertiary education! The Premier is now telling us there is an increase and will now offer 20% to frequent travellers? Who and how do you determine a frequent traveller? Usually a private enterprise (ferry company) would issue a frequent rider card like an airline would issue a frequent flyer card. I have lost all hope in this administration; they are all over the place like a chicken without its head!! 8-O

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    • read the story!
      July 26, 2013
      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      “We will be introducing Madam Speaker what you call a Frequent Traveler Card where the persons who purchase a frequent traveler card – maybe purchased for a week or maybe for a month – will be given a discount on these fees; a discount of approximately 20%.”

      Reply to this comment
  5. Windy
    July 25, 2013
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    Smoke and mirrors my friend. All smoke and mirrors. What a bunch of bull. Pay the government for a discount card.

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  6. Missing Link
    July 25, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    Doc you got me confused on this one!! Please wheel and come again!!!!

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  7. ?
    July 25, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    What kind of gimmick Ndp coming with!lol what discount, reduce the departure tax amount by 20% simple.

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  8. GOSH
    July 25, 2013
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    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  9. July 25, 2013
    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

    Funny he can propose this reduction and implementation of this tax but they reducing the cost for visas for foreign persons and dont want to increasr work permit and entry permit fees like other OT’s. Hope there is no abuse of process in the discount bidness.

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  10. lol
    July 25, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

    I really got to laugh.

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  11. ooooo
    July 25, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

    when yo look its only ndp supporters getting these cards…which reminds me of that million dollars that mark promised us from that long time ago…think we forget?

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  12. HMMM
    July 25, 2013
    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

    Mr. Premier are you kidding me..This makes absolutely no sense….What’s really wrong with you guys? smh

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