United States Virgin Islands (USVI) authorities are open to collaborating with the BVI on tourism initiatives and are also introducing laws that would create an ease for BVI bands to perform in their territory without undue restriction.
USVI governor, Kenneth Mapp, shared those sentiments during a Tortola conference with members of local media on Tuesday.
One of the initiatives the USVI governor said he has discussed with Premier Dr D Orlando Smith is the possibility of having tourists who travel to Tortola through St Thomas get cleared before they actually arrive here in the BVI.
He said the idea is to have BVI Customs and Immigration officers operate from ferries in the USVI that are bound for Tortola.
“The US Customs and Border Protection have no problem with the agents or the appropriate authorities of the BVI being on the ferries,” Mapp told members of BVI media.
“Once the ferries leave the St Thomas dock, they (BVI officers) could clear those ferries on their way over to the BVI so that, as people disembark the ferries, they don’t have these long lines that they needed to go through. Their clearance could take place on their way over,” the USVI governor explained.
As for removing some of the ‘red tape’ that has been hindering local bands from travelling to the USVI to perform, that issue is being resolved through an Immigration bill currently before USVI lawmakers.
Governor Mapp said the USVI currently limit BVI bands from entering their ports when they (the bands) are coming into the US territory to perform and earn money.
“That was considered coming to work and so there were greater restrictions,” Mapp explained.
He, however, noted the new USVI legislation being proposed called the Day Waiver Programme. This policy will allow bands from the BVI to enter and perform unrestricted for a limited period.
“The Day Waiver Programme [is] not only for the BVI and the USVI but for all of the Caribbean islands in the area because, just like bands in the USVI can come to the BVI and relatively perform and earn, we want to be able to have more free flow of traffic and relationship,” Mapp said.
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