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Cruise passengers ‘need to pay their fair share’ of environmental levy- Hon Flax-Charles

- said it is another way for Gov’t to get additional revenue
The Environmental and Tourism Levy of $10.00, to be paid upon arrival at all ports of entry, became effective on September 1, 2017; however, cruise ship passengers are exempted. Photo: VINO/File
Arguing that the cruise ship sector has one of the 'greatest impacts' on the environment, Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) has said cruise passengers must be made to pay the Environmental and Tourism Levy. Photo: YouTube
Arguing that the cruise ship sector has one of the 'greatest impacts' on the environment, Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL) has said cruise passengers must be made to pay the Environmental and Tourism Levy. Photo: YouTube
DUFF’S BOTTOM, Tortola, VI- Arguing that the cruise ship sector has one of the “greatest impacts” on the environment, the Junior Minister for Trade and Economic Development, Hon Shereen D. Flax-Charles (AL), has said cruise ship passengers must be made to pay the Environmental and Tourism Levy.

The Environmental and Tourism Levy of $10.00, to be paid upon arrival at all ports of entry, became effective on September 1, 2017.


All visitors aged three years and older are expected to pay the levy; however, legislation makes provision for exemptions for residents and belongers; non-residents two years or under; officers of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court; guests of the Government; official representatives of the Government of any country/Territory; persons accorded diplomatic privileges in accordance with the Diplomatic Privileges Ordinance; and persons exempted by the Minister by Order published in the Gazette

Other exemptions include visitors arriving in the Virgin Islands on a second or subsequent occasion in the course of the same visit; persons in transit who on arrival do not leave the airport or dock; crew of vessels and cruise passengers arriving to the Territory via cruise lines, according to Government Information Services (GIS) on May 25, 2018.

Pay ‘fair share’- Hon Flax-Charles

“The cruise passengers, we welcome them, we love to have them, but they need to pay their fair share.

“And I don’t want anybody to take it out of context. I don’t have an issue with cruise passengers, but if the land-based and the charter yachts pay that environmental levy when those passengers come in to hop onboard those yachts or go into the hotels and villas, we need to take a closer look,” Hon Flax-Charles stated during her contribution to the Budget Debate during the Continuation of the Ninth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly (HoA) at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff's Bottom, Tortola, on December 20, 2022.

The At-Large Representative argued that the Territory needs revenue and making cruise passengers pay the environmental levy is a way to get additional revenues into the coffers.

‘Average American tourist has no issue paying’

“We are not going to nickel and dime persons, but the average American tourist has no issue whatsoever paying to assist in maintaining Nature’s Little Secrets, and yes I said it because we are still Nature’s Little Secrets,” Hon Flax-Charles said.

Funds generated from the Environmental and Tourism Levy are supposed to be used to protect the Territory’s environment; and are meant to be applied towards activities related to environmental protection and improvement, minimising climate change, maintaining and developing tourism sites, and other tourism activities.

43 Responses to “Cruise passengers ‘need to pay their fair share’ of environmental levy- Hon Flax-Charles”

  • oh boy (21/12/2022, 11:06) Like (29) Dislike (3) Reply
    She going to do what she does best which is mash up the cruise industry now. Honorable mash up at it again.
    • Hospitality (21/12/2022, 11:56) Like (9) Dislike (6) Reply
      If you understood the cruise industry you would realize that if we don't protect our environment they the cruise lines will stop coming anyway. The users should assisting in protection the environment.. Should the persons on yachts not pay the Levy? Should the hotel guests not pay the Levy? Should the villa guests not pay the Levy?
    • Noise (21/12/2022, 19:25) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
      She gets noise every couple of months and then we hear nothing for month. She never actually does anything - just squarks every now and again.
  • Tired (21/12/2022, 11:07) Like (17) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am tied of this woman always complaining and never giving any solutions.
    • hmmm (21/12/2022, 11:58) Like (6) Dislike (11) Reply
      Stupid tis is a solution to gain more revenue to protect the environment as well as improve our tourism product. Do you think the money will drop from the sky to do all the things that need to be do e. Why should some tourist pay and others don't pay
      • lodger (21/12/2022, 14:26) Like (12) Dislike (1) Reply
        Tell me how much of the collected fees have actually been spent on the enviroment?
        • Me (23/12/2022, 13:20) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
          We all should pay he levy but only when
          properly accounted and transparent records are kept by independent experts to show the money is spent on the environment. Trouble is, we don’t trust
          our politicians to go that because they have been shown to be corrupt. This is why we need the English to help us to put in place such oversight.
    • gnazi (21/12/2022, 16:14) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      tired not tied
  • vg youth (21/12/2022, 11:08) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    I will never vote for this disrespectful woman AGAIN.
    • Yes (21/12/2022, 11:51) Like (11) Dislike (11) Reply
      Noone is begging you to. She is a fighter. She is the ONLY INE who stood up to Andrew. . All the others condoned his behavior
      • to yes (21/12/2022, 12:47) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        This is not about Andrew. This is about a woman who can work with no one. She disrespects everyone especially we the public officers. Stop encouraging this woman in her foolishness.
        • hmmm (21/12/2022, 13:39) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
          Karia you need to stop. You have time now on your hands working from home
  • Kill the goose! (21/12/2022, 11:18) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    Please think this through or we will end up in the same situation with the stupid requirements for day trippers by sea, the charter yacht company debacle and mega yacht entry requirements. Think about how this can be implemented, its broader implications and whether or not it is competitive. We are competing for with several other ports for visitors so let's not kill the goose.

    A better solution may be to ask the cruise ship companies themselves to pay the tax and they can build it into their rates rather than an immediate tax to passengers. Besides, will you go stand up on the pier and collect this tax per person?
    • Truth (21/12/2022, 11:52) Like (4) Dislike (11) Reply
      This is a great idea. Our environment needs to be protected
    • Goose (23/12/2022, 13:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Bermuda charges $60! We are so small minded here. Can’t we see that it’s obviously better to have fewer tourists spending more money than mass tourists spending a pittance. It’s just so basic yet some don’t get it.
  • W*F (21/12/2022, 11:36) Like (26) Dislike (2) Reply

    What fair share is she talking about? They would do well to think before the talk this type of nonsense. The cruise shippers pay $15 per head in tax on arrival to the BVI which is twice or more than is paid at the other Caribbean Ports. Everything is pay pay pay pay pay and what are you doing with the @*&% money? We need to elect people with brains instead of these idiots who wake up each day and say what is on their mind instead of making sensible, factual statements.

    • Truth (21/12/2022, 13:41) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
      That $15 goes direct to the Pier Park. Central Givernment DOES NOT GET a dime of that money
      • @Truth (21/12/2022, 15:17) Like (17) Dislike (0) Reply

        The $15 goes to the BVI Ports Authority which is a statutory body of the Government. This money grab mentality while not using the funding for its intended purpose is BAD BAD BAD and NASTY of the BVI. You tax expat workers on their ALREADY TAXED INCOME to send money home to their family, we tax visitors an environmental fee, for what? We have @#$^& old cars in Pock Wood Pond 5 years now, we are open burning our garbage, the roadsides are filthy, mangroves dirty as hell, ports of entry shameful and rundown. What are we doing with all the money we charge people? Cruisers should not have to pay no damn environmental fee! They come here to spend the day, they spend money with taxis/tours, beach bars, regular bars, pharmacies, restaurants and so on. This talk about cruise ships doing nothing for the economy was totally debunked by COVID when they were away for 18 months. Look at the difference in businesses now that they are back. The Government needs to stop giving BVI Tourist Board over $10 million annually for NOTHING. They are grossly overstaffed and grossly underperforming.

  • trouble (21/12/2022, 12:48) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    She is heading to destroy this industry. She clearly does not understand this industry. This is trouble.
    • hmmm (21/12/2022, 15:21) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      Same thing I say
      But tis ayo elec de set a green one without so much as a short course in economics under dem belt. Half caan even string a decent email together. no relevant experience jus street talk in the house.
      Once opon a time looooong ago young people coudda learn something from legco but now em em em
      COI goin on and dem in standing finance talking bout so wa if a fell retaining wall on private property he shod b able to help. Mussy
  • pay (21/12/2022, 12:55) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Pay for this garbage of a road and no side walks for anyone to walk on the roads patching is uneven and terrible people paying for road and they not good why dont you look out more for tourist with those stupid not working lights by old columbian emerald when tourist standing waiting for lights to stop for them to go they dont know the lights will never turn for them to go ahead nonsense
  • My Take (21/12/2022, 13:10) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    If this woman was the Premier, she would be still fussing about everything. Trying to address this concern she raised in the public in the manner she is doing is not in the best interest of the industry nor the people of the BVI. Wisdom is key.
  • c (21/12/2022, 13:17) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
  • Agree. But. (21/12/2022, 13:26) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    Makes sense but where would this money go. Who is going to ensure it goes where it suppose to go and don't disappear with out a trace..We have a money disappearing and an unaccountable issue in the BVI.
  • Truth (21/12/2022, 13:38) Like (4) Dislike (3) Reply
    They dump their waste in our small islands and local waters. Most islands cannot dispose of their own garbage properly nor take on the massive amount of garbage that cruise ships create; cruise ships generate a number of waste streams that can result in discharges to the marine environment, including sewage, gray water, hazardous wastes, oily bilge water, ballast water, and solid waste. They dump black water and gray water into our oceans, respectively 15.000 to 30.000 and 90.000 to 255.000 gallons per day from a typical large ship with 3000 passengers (Brida & Aguirre, 2008). This has an adverse effect on our corals and thus the fish who rely on those habitats.The Tourist Pollute the islands. Walking on the popular beaches after a cruise ship has visited, it is easy to see the litter that has been left behind. The sand is covered in garbage, cigarettes, and other non-biodegradable items which go into the seas and harm the sea life. This can be detrimental to the ecosystems on the islands due to the limited environmental regulations.The ship pollutes the air and seas significantly. A large cruise ship can use up to 250 tons of fuel per day, the environmental costs of the sector are incalculable given that the cruise ship industry is unregulated and difficult to gauge its impacts (Brida & Aguirre, 2008). Passengers generally hope to escape the dirty air of cities for some fresh sea air on cruise ships, they do so unknowingly at the of the environment. Running a cruise for a day can equal the same pollution as running a million cars for a day. This contributes to global warming and it is the small islands that are the first to feel these impacts, especially those in the Caribbean who will suffer from droughts, sea level rise, extreme weather changes including bad hurricanes (IPCC, 2018).

    It is important for small island developing states to consider benefits versus negative impacts and short term versus long term effects of everything that is done on the islands since islands are extremely dynamic and sensitive to changes. It is clear that the cruise ship industry cannot continue as is due to its destructive nature to the island's ecosystems which run hand in hand with small island economies. Thus changes need to be made at a high government level to implement regulations, having a regulating body in place would be greatly beneficial for the sustainable running of cruises if they wanted to continue visiting our island paradise. Some changes that could be made on the island level are: (1) Charging cruises an additional pollution tax based on the number of passengers they carry; (2) put in place a limit to the amount of water we can realistically provide the cruises per season based on predicted severity of dry season; (3) Put in place strict environmental and garbage disposal regulations with fines and officers to oversee the implementation.

    These cruises also need more regulations, specifically environmental, some of these should be: (1) A proper ways to dispose of their wastewater; (2) Able to store most of their own fresh water and have a compulsory desalination plant so they do not deplete the water on the islands; (3) Brief their passengers on proper etiquette on the island when it comes to littering and disposal of trash, educate them on problems the trash can cause to the economies of the island; (4) Have green technology on board in order to reduce their carbon emissions from the large amount of gasoline used for traveling and to lessen air and water pollution (possibly only be allowed to emit a certain amount of carbon, or have a carbon trading system between cruise lines). With these recommendations put in place and cooperation with the cruise industry, this sector of tourism may be able to be sustainable and environmentally friendly, thus the tourist can continue to sustainably visit the islands having limited negative effects on their futures.

  • WOW (21/12/2022, 14:01) Like (4) Dislike (2) Reply
    Cruise ships are a catastrophe for the environment — and that's not an overstatement. They dump toxic waste into our waters, fill the planet with carbon dioxide, and kill marine wildlife. Cruise ships' environmental impact is never ending, and they continue to get bigger. They once were small ships, around 30,000 tons.14 Mar 2022
    • lodger (21/12/2022, 14:30) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
      But while all those people are on a cruise away from home they are not contributing to global warming, so there is a trade off.
  • lol (21/12/2022, 15:19) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply

    So let me get this straight. @#$%&*^ with the environment and leaving the place nasty is fine as long as only locals are allowed to do it? All this nonsense about how cruise ships impact our environment negatively and nothing about the nasty people that live here? Garages on every corner with old cars which are a breeding ground for mosquitos and rodents thereby causing sickness and disease. Open burning of garbage, raw sewerage running in the streets, mangroves filthy, ponds filled in for private land and greed, beaches overtaken by bars, chairs and stores but this is the expat/tourists/cruises fault? Remove the cruise ships and this place is still stink as sh**, nasty and unhealthy. Always someone else to blame!

    • at LOL (21/12/2022, 19:55) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply

      You hit the nail on the head! A majority of the cruisers themselves have a regard to the environment, but first impressions are lasting. Step off the ship and you have the lovely Road Harbour to greet you! Sunken boats, oil sheen on the water, garbage in the sea, the smell of raw sewage, dead animals (mostly chickens that sh88 everywhere), overflowing rubbish bins (if your lucky to find one). These things are not caused by cruise ships or their passengers it is caused by low dollar residents and a broke @$$ government! No pride here, locals has blinders on in the shape of dollar bills. They don’t see the overflowing dumpsters on their way to work, they don’t smell the sh** on their shoes when they take them off, when the big bag of garbage they carrying comes off the roof of their car you think they stop to pick it up? Hahaha! Go ahead and raise the fees for tourists, cruisers or any type visitor, won’t change a thing BVI low dollar and always will be. Shame!

  • WOW (21/12/2022, 16:05) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Honorable minister you do know the Cruise ships can go else where and then what will you collect then.
    • Shereen (21/12/2022, 20:06) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes but that cN contribute to preserving our environment.ent so both we and them cN enjoy it and make money from it
  • WOW (21/12/2022, 16:07) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Greed will inprison us all
  • Winky (21/12/2022, 16:53) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Good plan. Let's kill the cruiseship industry like they did with the yachting industry.
  • Mustang (21/12/2022, 17:18) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Indeed, they imposed a disproportionate amount of stress on the fragile environment and contribute a commensurate amount to protect and preserve it.
  • Belongers (21/12/2022, 17:48) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Remind me what share of the Environmental Levy do Belongers pay
  • Now we serious (21/12/2022, 17:56) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is my say, we messed up our own environment. So the cruise ship passengers who only spend a couple of hours in port must pay a fee? The cruise ship passengers is not responsible for the mess and should not be made to pay. There are other Port of calls and they would not loose out if they cancel the BVI.
  • Really (21/12/2022, 19:41) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    Wake Up people. This is All by design. The are banning private cars in countries right now documents signed in blood because that's what these devil documents are with the Illuminati signs, symbols numbers, and colors on all. You need to watch what's going on world wide because this woman is reading the world script from the elites and the UK is one of the country who's will ban private vehicle and being that there are Here and in full control of course they have to chase way the cruise ship to start problems so they can say they aren't making money , and boom the ships stop coming here. Wait to see because its coming. I used to think other people was crazy when I found out about the world but when you fall into the rabbit hole it has no way out and you just want to keep learning
  • AH GO SAY IT AGAIN (21/12/2022, 19:55) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
  • @ TROUBLE (21/12/2022, 20:54) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
  • vi (21/12/2022, 21:38) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mrs minister when tho abroad tell us how many fee’s you does pay your party messing up everything including the water taxis
  • sxm (21/12/2022, 22:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Really town smell stink, bush them need cutting I don't know what hon kye doing. Stinking seaweed like she for real. Rubbish
  • hmmm (22/12/2022, 09:15) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Why don’t we just ask tourists to deposit all their money in a box by the cruise ship docks and then just tell them to leave? Or, how about a GoFund me page to fix our environmental issues (as a result of our own negligence? Why are we even pursuing day trippers and cruise ships when the money is in longer term visitors?
  • small minds (22/12/2022, 18:45) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do you think the cruise industry will die?
    All the negative comments here are a bunch a##es. And I know this sound like you all are the paid bloggers. And most of you know the woman is speaking the GOD DANM TRUTH. Everywhere else the cruisers pay the levies. The negotiators clearly don’t understand the cruise industry. We don’t need to beg the cruisers to come, they need us more than we need them. So the past premier went and do a bum job and beg them to come. There is so much most of y’all don’t know. We are the highlight of the whole Caribbean and that’s the truth. BVI, know your worth, we are not beggars. From Cuba, the Bahamas all the way down island they pay environmental levies except here.

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