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Zero-tolerance for charter boats & yachts found breaking VI laws - HM Customs

Zero-tolerance for charter boats & yachts found breaking VI laws - HM Customs

Authorities at Her Majesty's Customs (HM Customs) in the Virgin Islands (VI) have adopted a zero-tolerance approach to tourists found breaking the laws in VI’s waters.

The comes amidst allegations by some tourists and even boat captains and crews, that even at nights, Customs Officers are frequenting their vessel and conducting checks.

Customs checking for compliance - Dept Director Tashima Martin


Speaking on JTV The Big Story on December 14, 2021, Deputy Director of Customs, Ms Tashima Martin said that this is being done in addition to the screening process and compliance checks.

"I am not sure about knocking on doors late at night, however, we have our marine units that go out and check for compliance," she said.

According to Ms Martin, in addition, persons simply need to comply to safety requirements, "submit your applications and pay your fees, that’s all we are asking you to do."

Ms Martin said the hardest part seems to be the safety requirements, “And that’s very sad because you are basically saying I don’t care."

However, she made it very clear, that her department will be strict with those found breaking the law.

"We have a no-tolerance policy for that, but we are out there doing our compliance checks making sure who are out there on charters, that they have their necessary licenses and certificates and even making sure they are certified on that vessel as it relates to charter."

Speaking on JTV The Big Story on December 14, 2021, Deputy Director of Customs, Ms Tashima Martin said Custom officers will patrol the waters in addition to the screening process and compliance checks.


Premier backs campaign


Ms Martin said that once they are found to be fully compliant, the department knows that persons are responsible and understand the importance of safety of their quests, in addition to being trained to handle any issues that may arise.

Last Friday, December 10, 2021, Premier and Minister of Finance Honourable Andrew A. Fahie (R1) while responding to questions on the issue said he will not subscribe to a two-tiered system of justice.

"If Law enforcement officers feel suspicious activities that are happening on the sea and they search a yacht... Yes, they are visitors but they are not exempted from the law," the Premier said.

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