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Residents, Visitors, Immigration, Ports & Customs staff get rainy welcome

- Poor conditions @ Tortola Pier Park where passenger ferries now dock are similar to that of West End, Tortola, under a makeshift tent!
February 19th, 2018 | Tags: tents Customs officers inconvenience rain ferry dock
Passengers in the rain waiting for their goods at Tortola Pier Park on February 17, 2018. Photo: Team of Reporters
Immigration Officers operating under a tent at Tortola Pier Park on Saturday February 17, 2018. Photo: Team of Reporters
Immigration Officers operating under a tent at Tortola Pier Park on Saturday February 17, 2018. Photo: Team of Reporters
It is unclear when the BVI Ports Authority Building on Waterfront Drive, Tortola, will be reopened. Photo: VINO
It is unclear when the BVI Ports Authority Building on Waterfront Drive, Tortola, will be reopened. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- It was our newsroom that first and accurately reported on the poor and inhumane working conditions for Immigration, Customs and Treasury staff at West End on Tortola, where civil servants are forced to work under an open tent.

The situation in Road Town at the Tortola Pier Park (TPP) tender dock, which is temporarily being used by ferries to transport passengers between Tortola and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI), is much the same.

The civil servants and other public officers, who work at the makeshift set up since hurricanes Irma and Maria wreaked havoc on the BVI Ports Authority building on the waterfront last September 2017, are working under stressful and sometimes shameful conditions.

What happens when it rains?

When it rains, Immigration, Customs and BVI Ports Authority officers get wet once a ferry is offloading passengers at the TPP dock. When the line is long, visitors and residents entering the Territory must stand in the rain or run back to the ferry, if it’s still at port for shelter.

In addition, the Immigration tents are not joined with Customs’, so once you finished with immigration, in order not to hold up the line, you must walk or run in the rain to the other tents that house the Customs Department at TPP.

Even if you are also going to pay your Duties or Environmental Levy, once it is raining, you will also get wet standing outside the gazebo like booth where payments are made to Customs officers.

Furthermore, if after the passengers disembark the vessel and it leaves immediately, your goods will be left on the tender dock and may get soaked, as was the case this Saturday February 18, 2018.

Our roving camera observed goods on the dock that was in the rain. There was even a cat getting drenched.

While we are aware that there were two Category 5 hurricanes that destroyed the Territory’s infrastructure, it’s now five months later and not even a temporary structure is being built to ensure that public officers work in a safe and conducive environment and residents and visitors coming to the Tortola port of entry will have some kind of welcoming experience.

How long will these conditions remain?

Efforts to get a comment from the Commissioner of Customs Mr Wade N. Smith and Acting Chief Immigration Officer Mrs Geraldine Ritter-Freeman were unsuccessful up to time of publication.

It is unclear when the BVI Ports Authority building that housed Customs and Immigration at the Road Town Waterfront port of entry will be restored and reopened.

But then again, bad welcoming experience, or poor staff working conditions or not, the Virgin Islands is open for business, according to Premier Dr The Honourable D. Orlando Smith (AL).

See link to related article:

10 Responses to “Residents, Visitors, Immigration, Ports & Customs staff get rainy welcome”

  • voter (19/02/2018, 11:15) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    Shame shame shame
  • watcher (19/02/2018, 12:14) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is bs.
  • biker (19/02/2018, 13:43) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Good thing the allegedly 'inadequate' airport on Beef Island is still functioning in fair and foul weather!

    All that money spent to build the TPP and nobody thought to build some overhead protection near the docks. The ferry terminal in Red Hook, St. Thomas is/was a good example of practical commercial all-weather marine construction.
  • wize up (19/02/2018, 16:01) Like (7) Dislike (5) Reply
    the place was damaged during hurricanes stop acting like it’s normal conditions.....
    • Whippet (19/02/2018, 18:04) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      It may not be ‘normal’ because of the storm that passed, granted - but REEEELLLY - 5-6 months later and it’s still only a tent! And where is the plan for a NEW PORT welcoming tourists coming in from the USVI? 4 million dollars has been allotted to the roadworks at Cartot Bay & the same amount to build a PORT, which is the GATEWAY to the BVI??? Then 250 million for an airport which is more a gateway from the Caribbean than anything else. And what are the numbers arriving at Beef Island as opposed to those arriving through the West End Port? We need a beautiful new state of the art Terminal at West End to accommodate the new state of the art ferries we are starting to see arrive!
  • spanish girl (19/02/2018, 19:07) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    It's clear that mark has lost his mojoe he needs to go
  • J.W. (19/02/2018, 19:30) Like (12) Dislike (0) Reply
    Yet Myron wants to invest $100,000.00 into VG Easter Festival.
  • I from gere (19/02/2018, 20:38) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Locals working in immegration and customs and they hate locals
  • civil servant (21/02/2018, 07:38) Like (9) Dislike (0) Reply
    Open for business because Mr zzzzz is back in his nice office so he ain't care

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