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Foreign charters no longer need licenses or work permits- Premier Wheatley

- announcement receives mixed reaction from public
The Unity Government led by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has scrapped trade license and work permit requirements for foreign-based commercial recreational vessels conducting charters or operating water taxis in the Virgin Islands. Photo:
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), on Saturday, November 12, 2022, on the Government of the Virgin Islands Facebook page, made the announcement to scrap trade license and work permit requirements for foreign-based commercial recreational vessels conducting charters or operating water taxis in the Virgin Islands. Photo: Facebook
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7), on Saturday, November 12, 2022, on the Government of the Virgin Islands Facebook page, made the announcement to scrap trade license and work permit requirements for foreign-based commercial recreational vessels conducting charters or operating water taxis in the Virgin Islands. Photo: Facebook
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The Unity Government led by Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) has scrapped trade license and work permit requirements for foreign-based commercial recreational vessels conducting charters or operating water taxis in the Virgin Islands.

The announcement was made on Saturday, November 12, 2022, on the Government of the Virgin Islands Facebook page.

No trade licenses & work permits required!

According to Hon Wheatley, this change will come into effect from Tuesday, November 15, 2022.

“In an effort to provide a  more efficient and streamlined experience for our incoming guests, effective the 15th of November we have taken the decision not to require BVI trade licenses from foreign based commercial recreational vessels conducting day or term charters or water taxis. Work permit will not be required for crew working on these vessels.”

Dr Wheatley said the government is formulating new policy and amendments to existing legislation that will recognise transient vessels, modify fees, and provide greater ease of access while ensuring that the economic value of locally-based charter operations is protected.

The Premier said his Government will continue to promote the “BVI-based businesses” and develop incentives and advantages for those so committed.

“This is already evident in some reduced fee levels for home-based charter operations and out BVI-based maritime businesses are returning,” Dr Wheatley stated.

Reactions to announcement

Since the announcement, there have been mixed reactions.

Boater David Goodman, commenting on the Government of the Virgin Islands Facebook page, welcomed the initiative but said “actions speak louder than words” and that he was going to follow the issue closely.

“Let’s see what is really the effect of this announcement. Will the BVI customs and immigration officers on the front lines really change their ways and attitudes and treat us with respect? We will see,” Mr Goodman stated.

A Dennis Tonge said he used to run charters out of the USVI to the VI on a weekly basis.

“Pre-Covid it ran $1200 for a week just to charter in the territory for 8 guests. Then we made due without all hassle of the BVI government… get a stamp here. Go there and get another stamp. Pay this and that just to visit. I really enjoyed chartering the U.S.V.I. and it’s just as beautiful without all of the hassle. Make no mistake, the B.V.I. wants the money from the U.S. and I’m sure they’ll come back but after the way they treated the sailors from the U.S. during Covid, I would be surprised if you get half the tourism it used to be.”

According to Linda Phillips; however, “VI-based boats jump through a myriad of hoops to be here, work permits, trade licenses and ships registry. Now, why bother. US boats will be coming without working through each of these processes that cost money, aggregation and take months. Many tourists will opt to fly in and out of St Thomas where they can hop on their charter boat and then come and enjoy the BVI. I’m having trouble understanding how this move supports our marine industry.”

Uschi Mikoleiczik commented: “I don't quite follow, so USVI boats do not need to apply and pay for trade license and crew does not need to have apply and pay for a work permit, how is that going to be of any advantage for BVI-based vessels? That is in my eyes a great disadvantage, especially with the length of work permit and trade-license approvals.”

41 Responses to “Foreign charters no longer need licenses or work permits- Premier Wheatley”

  • Micky Dee (14/11/2022, 11:46) Like (10) Dislike (30) Reply
    Come on man, those rules put into place some time ago to protect our jobs and our lively hood here in the bvi
    • Rubber Duck (14/11/2022, 17:17) Like (10) Dislike (0) Reply
      How does making it easier and cheaper to base a boat in the USVI and still be able to charter in BVI waters, help the local charter industry?

      The foreigners dont need trade licenses and work permits but BVI based boats do?

      How does that help?

  • jack (14/11/2022, 11:49) Like (23) Dislike (23) Reply
    The slowman sold us out to the Uk now to the Usvi this waste of time must go!
  • BUSY BEE (14/11/2022, 11:52) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    More to come on this. The Premier’s action is temporary.
    Likewise, Capt. Tonge may enjoy doing "domestic", USVI-only charters because he makes more money, but the market there has for the large part run its course. The chartering tourists want the BVI.
    Now the premier needs to figure out how to make basing a charter yacht in the BVI more attractive (and he needs to figure out how to cut the nightmare of bureaucratic paperwork and red tape that it takes) without relinquishing the safety, and insurance requirements.
    Remember, Hon. Premier, it’s about the money.
  • Soft, ain't ready at all (14/11/2022, 12:09) Like (8) Dislike (17) Reply
    Last friendship day governor Bryan seems to have gotten over this dude.
  • smfh (14/11/2022, 12:11) Like (16) Dislike (25) Reply
    The BVI always spreading out the red carpet for outsiders while locals endure all the red tape
  • absolutely crazy (14/11/2022, 12:14) Like (13) Dislike (26) Reply
    i suspect there a mass exit from the bvi to base in the usvi. its SO much easier iver there with direct flights etc.
    so all bvi based boats will have to keep plodding along doing all the stuff that we have had to do for years and a usvi vessel can just waltz in here without doing so.
    i just paid a fortune in customs import fees to be fully based here..what a waste of money when u could be based somewhere who activelt WANT to be nice to tourists.
    such a sell out
    • BVI People. Hmmm (14/11/2022, 14:16) Like (17) Dislike (1) Reply
      Just last year they were complaining about losing their charter boat business to St. Thomas and St. John's now the Good Premier is fixing the problem. What's you all problem. We are already falling behind with cruise ship to St. Marten ,, Grenada, St Lucia, Dominica, Antigua, Don't talk about St. Kitts for their population they are # 1 in cruise tourism .So, this a good visionary move by the Premier, hold tight to this industry.
    • yes ur (14/11/2022, 19:46) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
      there will be no mass exit, as to bring a boat into the Bvi still costs about $1k for a weeks charter, learn before you comment, your boat pays a much lower daily rate per person as you MUST know...
  • Awesome! (14/11/2022, 12:29) Like (28) Dislike (1) Reply
    A fantastic move eliminating the unnecessary red tape. Now to steamline shipping/customs/immigration requirements and we will truly be the Premier charter destination. Thank you!
  • Fed Up!! (14/11/2022, 12:35) Like (17) Dislike (3) Reply
    Why is it that the USVI is always benefiting from the BVI, yet our BVI people have to still pay fees and have all kinds of documentation to enter to conduct business in the USVI?? Like our Stupid Government isn't noticing this one-sided friendship. STOP Taking food out of our locals mouth and our country's economy.
  • musa (14/11/2022, 12:40) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    1 term leader u will feel the heat for this move sooner than you think
    • @musa (14/11/2022, 14:00) Like (8) Dislike (1) Reply
      I have to agree with you on that. I do not understand what is really going on with those leaders. What is wrong with them? They all need to go.
  • Any Sense? (14/11/2022, 12:49) Like (22) Dislike (2) Reply
    BVI based charter boats will still need trade license and work permits but USVI based wont? Why would anyone waste time basing here?
  • FEO GOMEZ (14/11/2022, 13:11) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply

    Now SLOWande going let these Europeans eat you all local food. Who you think Whites going to book for their charters? Not your black a*se.

  • concern (14/11/2022, 13:16) Like (1) Dislike (7) Reply
    We collected alot of funds from work permit holders now when this stops i guess the government plans to infringe on poor people. The people need to know what support this action taken in this regards.

    Only now locals won't be able to work with these companies
  • Time for change (14/11/2022, 13:24) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    People wise up, call for an election, call for change, call for all the sell-out thieving corrupt politicians to go start afresh with true BVI in mind. How is this beneficial to the BVI in anyway, shape or form.
    • @time for change (14/11/2022, 13:58) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      I totally agree. I have been trying to understand the real benefit but I cannot. If we have the product, why are we giving away the benefit. I am not sure I understand what will be had in return. Why a better arrangement could not be thought of.
  • Wondering Why (14/11/2022, 13:27) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Charter boats come in to our anchorages and push around BVI registered boats, by anchoring too close when there is not enough room for them to fit in. Instead of going to another anchorage they harassed me already anchored. This happened every holiday during season. Many of those charter boats coming out of the USVI have no manners at all.
  • EYEEEEE (14/11/2022, 14:00) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
  • nonsense (14/11/2022, 14:06) Like (6) Dislike (5) Reply
    The Premier has done the right thing! What needs to be done now is streamline the process for BVI registered boats and give them a proper incentive for being registered here. Stopping USVI charters was never the answer as BVI businesses felt the pain of not getting those customers that they used to. Those who are making noise have no clue about how the tourism product and economy works in totality. You have to give to get, everything isn't cut and dry, black or white. The BVI and the boaters registered here will be just fine just like they were before Andrew changed the laws in the first place.
  • Great. Nice! (14/11/2022, 14:07) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    This is an excellent move. Long step forward into the future. . Now work on the Residents and Belongers status that being in for too long. Long over due... People here over 30 and 40 yrs still waiting, can't get an answer as to the status and why it's taking so long.
    • Citizen (15/11/2022, 13:44) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Yes you came here for vacation over 30 to 40 yrs and you still here.
  • tiger (14/11/2022, 14:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    So this means USVI fishermen can come in and fish BVI waters without any license
  • Hmm (14/11/2022, 16:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply

    What a J*** @$$

  • Native Senior Citizen of the British Virgin Islands (14/11/2022, 16:32) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is not fair. Why should we have had to bow to the pressure of others interest, whose economy is in a better position than ours? You know exactly what I am writing about, as per the topic issue. Would we have gotten the same previledge as they have gotten forin us. I don't believe so. Weak and unwise decision was made by our current political leaders.
    We need better governance now, and in the future for the people of the BVI. True friendship is somewhat like a two-way street, not a one-way road.
    It is time to emacipate ourselves from internal (local) political slavery, beginning now, for the people of the British Virgin Islands.
  • PAUSE (14/11/2022, 18:28) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Time for the premier to go. He is behaving like a dictator and a sell out. Why is he cutting revenue and every minute he is on a plane using taxpayers money. That is the reason he made decision on the COI report without coming to the people for their input. He is the worst we had as premier… Hope he gets voted out .
  • justin (14/11/2022, 18:46) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    the local business owners who seeks to employ caribbean people must spend hours going back and forth to labor departments: the double standards continue because the few pennies you would have collected for those permits out the door: most of them have been violating the law of the land for many years: the poor black man have to make sure all of his T's are crossed....we need a change in politics affairs in this land(what is good for the goose is good for the gander

    run talk this.....
    Some folks are given permission to build a residential home in the territory: those folks take that given property and turns it into a villa rental business and no ones touches them
  • 1500 new belongers (14/11/2022, 18:49) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    Will make the new premier Musa say so.
  • Whose Thought (14/11/2022, 19:23) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do these ministers take time and sit down and discuss these things or it's just left up to one man? We need to know what we are dealing with !
  • liar liar (14/11/2022, 19:45) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now SLOWande did you blatantly lie to the boating community when you met with them on 10/10 and said no decisions or agreements were made with the USVI? It was noted that you were going to have some further discussions and inform the boating community before anything would be finalized. However this was never done! It Seems ironic that you waited until the local boaters renewed their annual licenses which required them to have a valid BVI trade license. This is such an insult!!!! This must now mean that local boaters no longer require a trade license either and will be given a credit or a refund for monies paid for their licenses....You also waited to ensure the current USVI administration got back into power after elections to make good on your end of the deal. Did you and Minister Rhymer sell out the BVI for some free internet service ???? WHAT A SHAME....YOU GUYS MUST GO NOW!!!!
  • lk (14/11/2022, 20:04) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    @ jack slow but sure u remember the story about d hear and d turtle d other one was to fast no name no warrant
  • Yung Woman (14/11/2022, 20:36) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am not an expert of the yachting industry but this stinks! It is not fair for the local charter Companies! Why waive revenue generating fees to appease foreign charter Companies? What will be supplemented for the loss of revenue? Yes, money is not all but why not address the internal processes and systems in its entirety? This is why I support the downsizing of the Civil Service due to the lack of efficiency.
  • Capt. Bill (14/11/2022, 21:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Seems most against this rule change defend the charter based companies. Last, several times I've chartered in USVI and sailed to BVI we payed a handsome fee. No crew so we didn't take anyones job there. Paid over a $1000 to customs and parks, paid someones salary. Spent thousands, including tips, souvenirs and dining all over the BVI.

    More people directly supporting the service workers in JVD, Spanish town and all the small communities. Open for a handsome fee to foreign vessels doesn't seem short sighted, but common sense.
  • Native Senior Citizen of the British Virgin Islands (14/11/2022, 23:33) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    In reference to the above topic issue: Why do those that can pay be given such previledge or be exempted from not having to pay, when in fact they are able to pay for their work permit? Don't the United government, head by a non business man realize that in order for our finances to increase collection of cash is a must, especially from those that can afford to pay?

    Very sad, but when a leader with a boy mentality is leading, nothing better than should be expected of him
    In the sport of baseball, which of the two choice would you pick, hit the ball or the ball hit you?
    In the administration of business, politics included, which of the two would be preferably to do, spend money so that others will make money or collect money from others, that will make money base on a decision made by you? Every good leader makes good choices most of the time, an ignorant and arrogant leadee don't.
    Vote your conscience: like or dislike.
  • old (15/11/2022, 12:45) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Some people don't need to be in. Government. Some of them feel they could do what they want. With out the people say We have enough of this foolish Government these boat not going anywhere Best sailing area in the world s
  • vi (15/11/2022, 19:34) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    it's more than what people think, the premier not telling the VI the whole story behind the issue, Let me shine an little light on the whole story, St thomas was just about to put something in place that all bvi water taxi or day charter captain will need an business license to pick up people in st thomas, to get an business license in st thomas you have to have physical address in st thomas, so all those guys who go over to st thomas every day to pick up people would of been out of work, a lot of things st thomas doing like, charging for boat lenght, charging to every person on the day charter boat, is the VI they get all that from the VI start implement it , so when the st thomas captains go back over to st thomas they just complain so the premier had no chose but to stop it all
  • White Girl (19/11/2022, 17:50) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Imma be in and out

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