BVI News

Freeze the fees! BVICCHA says new Port charges “unacceptable”

Photo Credit: BVIPA

The BVI Chamber of Commerce & Hotel Association (BVICCHA) has called for the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA) to withhold the recent hike in fees and hold consultation with stakeholders who will be affected by the increased costs.

Last week, BVI News reported that our news centre received complaints from some sections of the business community that are dissatisfied with the BVI Ports Authority’s (BVIPA) decision to hike fees as of March 1, 2021.

A public release from the BVIPA said the adjustments in select fees are overdue and are necessary to efficiently and properly operate and further develop the territory’s port facilities. 

However, the BVICCHA has called the Port Authority’s decision “unacceptable”, adding that business owners weren’t given adequate notice.

“This month (January), we now learn that increases were put in place in December 2020 and announced in January 2021 with no notice, consultation … This is unacceptable. The cost of doing business is already too high. These increases will have to be passed on to consumers who are already struggling to make ends meet in some cases,” BVICCHA said in a release.

The organisation said it has been receiving numerous complaints from disgruntled business owners who will have to pass the costs on to consumers.

Bad governance

In its release, BVICCHA said: “Cost increases are one thing. Rate spikes for whatever reason without consultation are pure and simply an example of bad governance.

The organisation also explained that some fees have jumped by 500% and added that a simple press release from the BVIPA doesn’t count as consultation.

“For the most part, businesses are already doing their part. Businesses pay their fair share of mandated fees and taxes. And yes, cost increases (inflation) happen, but when you see a fee increase of 500% — that’s from $500 to $2500 — that’s just borderline madness.” BVICCHA’s statement said.

“Considering the only information to explain the increases is what’s heard in the rumour mills, which the BVICCHA has not been able to validate, something more than a press release should have been sent before the fee increases,” the organisation argued.

Renewed call for Recovery Plan

The BVICCHA also said a review of the increased fees structure by economists and strategists would have shown that now is not the time for fee hikes.

It then renewed calls for the government to implement an Economic Recovery and Development Plan, in consultation with all stakeholders.

“The BVICCHA has championed for an economic plan since the summer of 2020 …The Virgin Islands can no longer endure a piecemeal approach. The country needs a comprehensive and realistic economic plan that includes all stakeholders,” the organisation said.

The BVIPA hasn’t commented on the public outcry against the new fees structure and whether it will revise the fees to assist residents and businesses that use port services.

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  1. I agree. Freeze it.. says:

    This is a selfish move motivated by greed and self interest,,, things are so hard , so many people still not working, businesses are trying their best to give staff a few hours a week, and they come up with this heartless proposal,,, Why they in high position with big salaries dont consider taking half salary until the country get back on it feet, they all can live good on half salary, that include government ministers also…Where is your heart, and the sad part is most of them doing this nonsense professed to be Christians,,,. No wonder its disaster after disaster, the place just wicket..

    Like 52
    Dislike 2
    • True says:

      I agree. The ports are hurting because our economy has been ruined by this goverment! Look at the great season St John and St Thomas are having. Doubling the costs at the ports sure as heck is not going to help!

  2. gradual... says:

    have a target price and implement over a 5 year period – need more business minds in Govt

    Like 18
    Dislike 1
  3. Foolishness says:

    Bvi government..d most play play ..childish government I’ve ever seen in my entire life..sometimes I ask myself..who are these people really, at the helm of the BVI government..
    Cause, do these educated people really sit and plan, only to come up with these BS decisions..never see more foolishness..smh

    Like 24
    Dislike 1
    • Meh kno says:

      Just the other day we were talking about young people getting into owning new businesses. Can we do so hoe you are doing things now? That a failing plan right away. Imagine starting out with such high over heads , who would we be caterring for with those rates for importation of the goods. High paid advisor where are you?remember you just started a new venture, but maybe you dont feel what we feel. Your pay could knock down anything anyway. Maybe government is using this method to take back the little assistance they gave us the other day. Thanks but no thanks. You want to give us five dollars and then ask us for twenty.

  4. ndp says:

    The heartless VIP machinery at work

    Like 17
    Dislike 2
  5. Doh says:

    The government is hard pressed for money. They can’t hit us with a tax, as we don’t tax our citizens. Oh no. So fees are the way to go. We are not taxed…

    Port taxes (I mean fees) affect everyone. So we all pay our share and no one escapes them. Businesses pass the taxes/fees along to the population. Prices rise, the cost of doing business increases, BVI drives off foreign investment, and the economy suffers even more. It’s been problem with socialist states from the beginning of their creation.

    It would appear the BVI is barreling headfirst down that same road.

    But carry on.

    Like 17
    Dislike 1
    • The says:

      BVI was a socialist run industry when the British imperialist inhumanity worked human beings while torturing them for five hundred years and are yet to pay them a pence or cent up to this day. That is worst than socialism, that was and still is crimes against humanity but carry on.

      After the slave inhumanity had lost its luster, the wealth and owners sailed of to England, left the other less than humans here to wither and die. They said it was only fit the the birds.

      That is worst than socialism. That is indifference to human life.

      Like 6
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      • Doh says:

        Yes the slave period was indeed and truly awful. But that was NOT socialism. It was an imperialist monarchy bent on world colonialism. Please learn your politics before you debate them.

        I find it curious that slavery of years past is used by you to deflect the problems of today. We can remember history and learn from it. Let’s address the current issues as they are much more pressing…

        Like 1
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  6. Helpless says:

    People being Evicted left right and center No Jobs No Opportunities No Money No Food No where to turn to. Salaries decreasing Everything else Increasing vast number of People have to stand in line to beg for Food. Under normal circumstances lot of people were living from Pay Cheque to Pay Cheque.Where do the Homeless go from here.

    Like 20
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    • Smh says:

      When the ferries run again, they will be deported along with the work permit holder. Only those who swear allegiance to the state will be allowed to remain.

      Like 6
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    • @helpless says:

      That’s another issue..the bvi has no properly functioning social programs for the less fortunate

  7. Idea says:

    Why not roll back the increased stipends being paid to board members and cut other unnecessary expenses in order to improve bottomline? Once things become somewhat normalized then you can look at increasing fees over 3-5 years incrementally. Nobody is saying that fees cannot be increased but looking at the current economic climate where businesses are barely holding on but the banks what their money, landlords want their money, BVIEC want their money, WSD wants their money, SSB wants their money, NHI want their money, IRD want their money, small businesses who may provide services to you will NEED THEIR MONEY, so how much is too much? Government cannot continue spending recklessly, having all elected officials parading in brand new, huge black SUVs while looking to drop heavy burdens on the populace who are already teethering on the brink of collapse.

    Like 30
    • @Idea says:

      First cutback they can make is that of ClSkCl. Getting paid such a large salary to talk nonsense, always stirring up trouble on his talk show. Don’t see what positive purpose he serves.

  8. Piggy Wiggy says:

    You can clearly see the motive of this story. Another hilarious attempt by these NDP cronies to discredit the efforts of a VIP Government with no credible alternative.

    I say no credible alternative because while they were in power for 8 years with a dysfunctional BVICCHA that was full of yes men receiving their consultant fees, their initiatives if any were a waste of time for the masses and full of self interest.

    This is when you put people of this bad mind nature in these associations to try to fulfill their agenda to knock on every effort to balance accounts but when they were in office and receiving their perks and benefits they could NOT get the accounts balance because they were busy fulling their pockets.

    Now they crying fowl and using this platform to squeal like the greedy onk onk.

    BVICCHA is ran by a set of self centered, self interest cronies that needs to just take a seat in the P Pen.

    Like 3
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  9. Yea says:

    It is not acceptable too when people have to pay full price for a 2020 work permit that they never really used.

    Like 17
    • @yea says:

      True..they could have been a little lenient to the persons that haven’t worked for months on end ..even if it’s a 10% of..I’m sure it would have been most appreciated
      Heartless people ..only thinking of fulling their pockets on the backs of the vulnerable

      Like 8
      Dislike 1
  10. Idiot fahie says:

    This f**l running this island to its knees
    He only increasing fee and nobody working to pay those kind of money
    Now ppl have to pay social security, NHI, revenue to tell you if your payments is up to date which I find very foolish
    Apart from those fee you still have to pay $50 to drop in your permit
    My permit expired April 2020 I wasn’t working since March and now I was told I have to pay for 2020 permit, that make no sense how can I pay for a year that I never work a dollar

    I waiting for the to say go back to your country cause only that ayo good for showing y’all dutty wicked bad minded ways

    My boss need to pay me off, but instead she is hoping for me to resolve she won’t have to pay me sick m.f. , social security needs to pay me for the 18 years I was paying them then I’ll leave

    I don’t advise anyone to come live and work on this is it ain’t worth it

    Some of you tolans are very wicked

    Like 8
    Dislike 3
  11. Transparency says:

    BVI Government – please publish a full account of the increased fees, what those will mean for the average person and INCLUDE a full list of who (which businesses and who their owners are) is exempt and for what reason. There is more to the story….

  12. question says:

    The people who runs the government forget he reason they have those position?
    Go back to your Bible read Nehemiah chapter 5

  13. @yea says:

    True..they could have been a little lenient to the persons that haven’t worked for months on end ..even if it’s a 10% of..I’m sure it would have been most appreciated
    Heartless people ..only thinking of fulling their pockets on the backs of the vulnerable

  14. ... says:

    Cost of living goes up, income goes down. Not sustainable. How about holding all ports fees until the economy reboots?

  15. smh says:

    The tag team sibling board members at it again.

    Hired all their friends in top positions with high salaries. Hired there children, nieces, nephews, grandchildren, greatgranchildren, neghbor cat and dog and there neghbor mouse. By million dollar building from politicians and there family. Now increasing fees to justify there hiring. A….. destroyed this country.

  16. Faith says:

    Lord help us in this beautiful virgin islands as the minister’s always say it. They always say oh we love this country and they are the ones that is crippling and taking it down. worker at one of the port always say its very hard with managements on the inside. They are all educated but no commonsense we will keep praying for them.

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