The amended Stamp Duty Act, although passed in the House of Assembly (HOA), had not been assented to up to the time of the Premier’s statement at a press conference late last week.
The Premier recalled that the National Bank of the Virgin Islands (NBVI) and Republic Bank both agreed to 100 per cent financing for homeowners when his government decided to waive the stamp duty for land sales as a mitigation measure for COVID-19 hardships.
“That complimented us with the stamp duty waiver overall for all Belongers and Virgin Islanders at that time which expired on the 31st of December, 2021,” the Premier said.
Meanwhile, the Premier said during that time, his government saw hundreds of transactions and residents realised millions in savings as a result of the initiative.
“So, it’s over 600 transactions and well over $5 million that persons in the Virgin Islands have been able to save to give them either their first home or to give them property or lands that would have gone out to non-Belongers, no offence to them,” he stated.
He continued: “But you want to keep as much lands and property in the hands of the residents and the government, your government of the day, has been pushing to do that as much as we can knowing that we have to have the balance of some non-Belongers involved in the purchase of properties – that, we’re not trying to stop that. But we also know who owns the lands, owns the country.”
“The banks have been responding tremendously well and we are asking those that did it before [offered financing], to reconsider doing it again but do it mainly knowing that it’s for first-time homeowners and Belongers,” the Premier said.