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Don’t ‘nickel and dime’ tourists with cruising permits - Penn

Don’t ‘nickel and dime’ tourists with cruising permits - Penn

Opposition Leader Marlon Penn has urged the government not to impose burdensome cruising permits on guests that enter the BVI through its territorial waters.
In a recent sitting of the House of Assembly, Penn questioned the need to issue these cruising permits to boat operators who are transferring passengers from West End to St Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

“If you leave West End to do a transfer to go to St Thomas to pick up someone to come back in, I cannot see where it is envisaged that you need a cruising permit for those transfers,” Penn said.

According to Penn, this could not have been the intent of the legislation that sanctions these permit requirements.

“We are now seeing where those persons who operate in that space see some opportunities to get themselves back up and running, to get themselves moving again,” he told the House.

Describing the issue as one of great concern, the Eighth District Representative said the BVI‘s tourism economy has been down for some 18 months and is now beginning to see some life again.

“We cannot continue to nickel and dime our guests during that process,” he argued.

The Opposition Leader said while he understood the need for a cruising permit for persons who are going out on a cruise back-and-forth between the islands, it didn’t make sense to him for a cruising permit to be required to take a short trip from West End to the USVI.

“When you leave the BVI waters to go from West End to go to St Thomas, it’s less than five minutes out of West End, [before] you’re in USVI waters,” Penn said.

“Why am I asking persons to pay a cruising permit where you are moving back-and-forth less than five minutes, where is the cruising in that process?” he asked.

Penn said legislators need to look closely at the law and determine if it is explicit in that sense and make necessary adjustments thereafter.

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