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HM Customs makes ‘unpopular’ move to protect VI

- everyone entering the territory via sea now required to individually declare
All persons entering the Virgin Islands by sea are now required to present themselves in person to immigration authorities. Photo: VINO/File
Assistant Commissioner of Enforcement Mr Clinton Romney said in terms of enforcement, one of the challenges HM Customs has been grappling with is boaters entering the territory without first declaring at a port of entry/Customs port.
Assistant Commissioner of Enforcement Mr Clinton Romney said in terms of enforcement, one of the challenges HM Customs has been grappling with is boaters entering the territory without first declaring at a port of entry/Customs port.
From left: Deputy Commissioner of HM Customs Mr Leslie H. Lettsome and Commissioner of Customs Mr Wade N. Smith. Photo: VINO
From left: Deputy Commissioner of HM Customs Mr Leslie H. Lettsome and Commissioner of Customs Mr Wade N. Smith. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI - Her Majesty Customs of the Virgin Islands has taken a number of steps to minimise the potential entry of criminals, firearms and illegal substances into the territory.

One such move has been described as “unpopular” by Assistant Commissioner of Enforcement, Mr Clinton Romney.

According to him, everyone coming into the territory by sea is now required to present himself/herself in person to immigration authorities.

This is one of the most recent measures implemented by HM Customs. “We hear about the amount of guns coming through St Thomas, if we read the papers, if you look at the media sites, so it’s a concern for us.”

Noting that while the VI is a tourist destination, Mr Romney said there are a lot of locals travelling to and through the USVI hence HM Customs had to make the decision as “unpopular” as it may be.

He said that in the past only the captains of boats were required to disembark and take with him all the passports of his passengers. “Now everyone is required to present themselves with their passports and their belongings.”


Mr Romney explained that in terms of enforcement, one of the challenges the department has been grappling with is boaters entering the territory without first declaring at a port of entry/Customs port. He was candid in noting that one of the challenges that results in this practice is that the Customs port of entries are not small boat friendly.

“The challenge there I would say would be some of our facilities are not as accommodating as others are. With West End you would appreciate that small boaters could come up and tie there but at Road Town we would have challenges with smaller boats or even yachts coming and tying up there.”

Mr Romney explained that the procedure is in place that if a yacht or boat with accommodation comes into the territory after Customs would have closed they could drop there anchor at the port of entry and then make their way to declare when customs is opened the following morning. “Or you have 12 hours once you remain on board your boat in which to present yourself to immigrations and customs.”

He said what HM Customs has been finding is a number of boaters have been coming especially in Road Town to private docks. “Now the argument there is I am at a port of entry but they are not at a Customs port, hence you would have an offense if they go to those places that are private facilities.”

“Once there they could discharge; persons could be let off their vessels without immigration giving permission to land.”

According to Mr Romney, this violation has seen a little decline as the department has upped its operations.

‘You cannot overlook security for tourism’

Mr Romney recalled two of the most recent attempts of persons to unlawfully enter the territory. One occurred when a boat captain sent one of his crew members to declare and it was found that one of the persons was on the territory’s stop list. He had committed a prior offence, spent time in prison and was barred from ever entering the VI again.

Another was in July of 2016 when a yacht had capsized and some persons were picked up from the water and brought ashore in the VI. Once landed, some jumped off the rescue vessel and ran away. “They might have been persons of interest,” said Mr Romney.

According to Deputy Commissioner of Customs Mr Leslie H. Lettsome, in the past there was a “one stop” system in place but this had to come to an end following the 9:11 incident in the USA.

The department said it is necessary that it strikes a balance especially as it thinks about tourism.

“But you cannot overlook security. Security is critical for any nation and without the security measures in place it will have a negative effect on tourism and we cannot afford that. So we are trying our best along with the Virgin Islands Police Force to ensure that those security measures are in place to keep our visitors and residents safe,” added Commissioner of Customs Mr Wade N. Smith.

85 Responses to “HM Customs makes ‘unpopular’ move to protect VI”

  • i from here (01/09/2016, 12:36) Like (31) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am so proud of the Customs Department!
  • one eye (01/09/2016, 12:45) Like (4) Dislike (13) Reply
    well said we have a police state now
    • wize up (01/09/2016, 14:41) Like (18) Dislike (0) Reply
      @ one eye: i rather reside in the police state that live a state full of crime....what police state?(hog know which mud to root)
  • just wrong (01/09/2016, 13:18) Like (21) Dislike (46) Reply
    Ok, so my wife and I run to St Thomas for the day and when we come back, there is no room at the dock in West End because of the Ferry's. So I guess this means we should pick up a mooring, and swim in with our passports and proof of residency in a plastic bag ?
    • HIDE (01/09/2016, 14:41) Like (31) Dislike (3) Reply
      If you don't have nothing to hide,this move shouldn't hamper you.
      • I live on St. John (02/09/2016, 14:45) Like (2) Dislike (3) Reply
        It's not about hiding it's that customs already takes too long. It's 25% of a person's bvi day from St. John. Now you might as well board up jost and Norman because our tourists will no longer be coming over.
    • Capt Mike (01/09/2016, 15:47) Like (16) Dislike (0) Reply
      good for the customs agents
      In the 60'S you sailed by waived passed some weed or beer to customs agent and were good to go.
      Customs should make room for small yachts at one end of customs docks and for the bigger yachts they could very easily have a customs officer at the village cay marina or Nanny cay where many charter yachts come to drop off or pick up guests as far as person swimming to dock get a life and take your dingy to the customs dock .
    • vi (01/09/2016, 18:37) Like (27) Dislike (0) Reply
      You just sit in your boat and wait, the same way u wait in st john when there is a ferry aheas of u
    • Trini (01/09/2016, 23:43) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
      Others always make things bad for good ppl
    • W*F (02/09/2016, 07:30) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
      You will wait until there's space available to dock, and present you and your passengers to Customs with your passports. Why you have a problem with that. You have something to hide? Nothing to hide, No Worries De Man.
  • wize up (01/09/2016, 13:28) Like (32) Dislike (6) Reply
    It is all for a better BVI; if you are not into criminal activity then you have nothing to fear......
  • SOO CLEAN (01/09/2016, 13:48) Like (2) Dislike (13) Reply
  • Local (01/09/2016, 13:53) Like (18) Dislike (5) Reply
    • firstly (01/09/2016, 18:56) Like (23) Dislike (0) Reply
      we need the corrupt politicians to stop giving orders and intervening in immigration affairs. secondly we need the favoritism story to stop. thirdly i agree, we need to stop allowing visitors to be here working. news flash-when theycome on vacation and request for an extension(s), they either working or looking for a sponser. we need for immigration to put a system in place to control the flow of people here in the VirginIslands. we need that when the officers are within there right, higher official personels dont call the immigration officers overthrowing a decision made, with what they think is the best solution to migitating immigration laws. just a few of my concerns... carry on..
      • Bohannon (02/09/2016, 06:11) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
        @ Firstly. You are on the point with your comment but why u think they do not want the hill man head immigration? Politicians Could not direct him on who to admit or who to refuse. Hmm. Customs is right. Thats the way it is supposed to be done but time will tell.
  • thank god (01/09/2016, 13:56) Like (16) Dislike (10) Reply
    I was at time worried about this,at times sitting at the VG dock,you will see one or two persons walking from the Marina with a ziplock bags of passports,but not seeing the passengers. I thought it was the most backward event I saw in my life,what carelessness. Glad it is being looked at,and put into practice.
    • Keepitsimple (01/09/2016, 17:21) Like (16) Dislike (5) Reply
      It is pretty much that way anywhere else. If the officials have the passports and they check out ok then why complicate matters? When the cruise ships come in they don't all trudge to customs carrying all their luggage. If a passport raises a red flag then the cusoms / immigration officers can request to see the passenger. Why have a bunch of random families clogging up customs when the captain can handle the clearing and keep it simple??
  • they got to be kidding (01/09/2016, 14:32) Like (27) Dislike (4) Reply
    These moo moos think that a criminal will clear customs?
  • HMMM (01/09/2016, 14:33) Like (12) Dislike (10) Reply
    More harassment for locals
  • boats (01/09/2016, 15:09) Like (32) Dislike (9) Reply
    I am trying to imagine 500 charter guests and all their belongings at West End on a Saturday afternoon trying to get into the territory. WITH their luggage too! The government is doing their best to kill the crewed charter yacht industry isn't it?
    • Charter Captain (03/09/2016, 09:23) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
      It seems that way, its bad enough now! A lot of the customs offers are rude disrespectful ill tempered small minded people with no patience or understanding and now we have to bring our guest in and all their luggage, its all ready the slowest customs in the world!
    • Charter Captain (03/09/2016, 09:23) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
      It seems that way, its bad enough now! A lot of the customs offers are rude disrespectful ill tempered small minded people with no patience or understanding and now we have to bring our guest in and all their luggage, its all ready the slowest customs in the world!
      • Bridgewater (11/09/2016, 06:29) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
        Everyone in the charter business is already fed up to the back teeth with the moronic, vacuous halfwits in immigration. This move is the most ridiculous yet. Who imagines criminals will present a bag full of weapons to customs? The cretins in immigration? This will just further damage an important revenue stream for the BVI. There are better and certainly friendlier places to charter. In two years time there will be no boats sailing there!
    • bobby (02/12/2016, 21:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Exactly. Another issue is that brokers will stop booking US boats. Maybe that is the plan
  • good luck (01/09/2016, 15:39) Like (12) Dislike (3) Reply
    Logistically this will be very interesting at the Road Town and West End Ferry Dock.. When do you guys start thinking a little bit further than your nose???
  • Yachtie Tourist (01/09/2016, 15:46) Like (21) Dislike (0) Reply
    It's not as though the criminals are coming in on legal boats & sitting aboard while their legit captain checks them in. All this will do is make the lines even longer. I appreciate the effort toward greater safety but criminals aren't smuggling things & people in on boats that check in AT ALL.
    I hope they intend to quadruple the staff to do this and the size of the offices in which to wait.
  • CGB resident (01/09/2016, 15:53) Like (7) Dislike (2) Reply
    I hope somehow BVI customs finds someway to alert all of the current charter boats, term & day boats before implementing this new law and fining them for lack of BVI "new law"!!
  • sheer bull (01/09/2016, 16:11) Like (29) Dislike (0) Reply
  • boats (01/09/2016, 16:25) Like (25) Dislike (5) Reply
    So...if you have 12 charter guests that you pick up in Red Hook for a weeks charter. We will now make at least 3-4 trips in the tender to get them all out to the yacht. Then we will make an hour trip up to West End. Where we will make another 3-4 trips at least into customs and immigrations depending on how far out we have to anchor, for everyone to line up and go through customs and immigration. Then we will have to repeat this process with the guests for the THIRD time that day. Yeah, that will help our tourism. Cuz you know, I would totally make sure I repacked that kilo of cocaine back in my suitcase for taking into customs! Pretty soon they will want the crewed yacht to also bring in all their food and liquor on board at the same time as guests and luggage so they can go through it. Crazy. And I have operated a crewed charter yacht here for twenty years.
    • free as a bird (01/09/2016, 17:36) Like (6) Dislike (28) Reply
      you can always leave if you don't like the rules of the place.
      • Sure (01/09/2016, 19:25) Like (19) Dislike (4) Reply
        And the BVIs can suffer the consequences of decreased high end tourism. Plenty of other beautiful places to visit with less attitude. Tortola these days is looking like the carbuncle of the Virgin Islands.
        • pelican (02/09/2016, 09:58) Like (0) Dislike (7) Reply
          Go ahead and go back to the caves of Europe; we really don't care about people who do not want to abide by laws. It is time our feet are down. If it was the other way around, we would have to be begging them to open the door for us one minute past 6:00. They would have told us to return to USVI. Obey or stay in the water.
      • chuuupes (01/09/2016, 20:27) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
        We shouldn't be encouraging anyone to leave. Matter of fact we need them to stay. But we need them to do things the right way from now on! Every where has rules that govern a country, laws that needs abiding, and abiding citizens/tourists to give respect and follow direct protocols where necessary. What you should be doing is suggesting for better ways /ideas/opportunities and direct it to our border protectorates in an effort to help make a difference. Mentioning such as what u just stated is such a low rhetoric statement. both me n you need those same persons to stay and spend necessary funds because those very same persons pay both me and you!tourism is one of our leading money making pillar to this economy.
    • wow (02/09/2016, 09:47) Like (3) Dislike (2) Reply
      Then when the place turns into a STX for STT you will Complain and say Customs did nothing, to my knowledge this same protice Customs is Implementing is done right there St. John. Do you complain about it there ? No! DID you go the Dept of Homepland Security and voice your concerns about the hassle it out on you? NO?! So why Is it being done here when rules are created to protect those living and those Visting!! Come on!
      The Government Now needs to realize that both ports of entry will need to be upgraded and expanded to accomodate this now influx of passengers.
      • HyF (02/09/2016, 15:43) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
        Because the BVI doesn't have facility besides west end to accommodate this.. The US side does that's why ppl don't complain
  • Charter Boat (01/09/2016, 16:59) Like (26) Dislike (2) Reply
    Between all the Taxes this is yet just another compelling reason for Charter Boats to promote USVI and Spanish VI. Absolutely Unbelievable... Keep it up BVI and watch your tourist trade decline and the USVI increase. Explain that to the local voters as their income begins to diminish. One might should start by cleaning up one's own backyard first.
  • What ?? (01/09/2016, 17:16) Like (19) Dislike (1) Reply
    You must be joking !!!! West end customs can not even handle the one person put ashore to clear. Where are all the boats going to tie up and how on earth are they going to process everyone........Customs , we respect you and your professionalism but enough is enough. WE NEED TOURISTS !!!!!!
  • Keepitsimple (01/09/2016, 17:16) Like (15) Dislike (0) Reply
    If this applies to ALL BOATS then it will be really interesting when cruise ships come in - lol. But it won't inconvenience the criminals as they don't bother to clear in.
  • Sadvirginislander (01/09/2016, 17:20) Like (23) Dislike (2) Reply
    Having decided about 3 months ago to discontinue taking charter guests to the BVI's because of high fees, impolite customs and immigration agents, & time restrictions this new ruling makes my decision much easier. We will miss you BVI's.
  • Yachtie Tourist (01/09/2016, 17:32) Like (22) Dislike (1) Reply
    So this only applies to boats with accommodations? If so, then that exempts all of the dayboats bringing 50 passengers into White Bay every day? Good to know that only people who are leaving in 8 hours can bring drugs & weapons into the country because they don't have to present at C&I. Ridiculous.
    And if this is NOT the case and all 50 people have to present, then by the time they're all checked in they'll have to get back on their boat & go straight back to STT! It would take all day!
    Time to bypass the BVI entirely & take our boat elsewhere this winter. Sucks.
    • !!! (04/09/2016, 23:17) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      If your a boat with accommodation, I'm sure you have to notify custom of your visit and the number of expected passenger, so easy fix staff available to search the passengers. Done!
  • flUffy (01/09/2016, 17:39) Like (5) Dislike (3) Reply
    So did the 25ft container and it content present it self for clearance?

  • John knowit (01/09/2016, 17:58) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Its good to hear Customs is working ....but are they telling the public what is the correct law.bith the immigration ordinance and the customs act have the same designated port of entryand aurhorised customs port.they can never be different..further;there is no provision in the cstoms act that prohibits a captain who is coming from outside the territory to proceed to a orivate facility within a customs port.liability is accrued to the owner of the said facility rather to the captain.the legislation is clear
  • shark (01/09/2016, 18:20) Like (7) Dislike (17) Reply
    do this means that the mega yatchs are going to be searched by customs as well.i have seen this on many ocassions that mega yatchs anchor in the habor one person comes in clear a the entire yatch.why don't you all start digging deep with these white boys first.they are the biggest traffickers around here.what are you all scared about digg deep u be surprised what u find
    • Seacap (04/09/2016, 08:53) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Racist. That is not where the problem lies. Grow up. The BVI has now lost all my business.
  • Wrong place to look (01/09/2016, 18:29) Like (24) Dislike (0) Reply
    Try looking at the BVI boats that are going to the USVI and coming back. Do you check National Parks, Rommey boats, boats for the Dolphins, the guys in their local speed boats unloading by crandalls? Plus all the little ones that run back and forwards without clearing in??
    If you want to implement this you need mobile teams that go to the boats and clear them in. Having a sniffer dog for explosives and drugs with the team would make it very quick, otherwise you are going to screw up a huge industry.
  • ...making a move to soon (01/09/2016, 18:46) Like (11) Dislike (0) Reply
    i get that customs is doing whwt they need to do to mitigatethe laws as it pertains to customs, but this move is too quick in a sense that some of the ports are not adequately designed to traffic large quantitiesof persons. take for instance jost van dyke and its 350+passengers cleared per day, west end with large ferry loads coming tru not to mention day trippers and overnighters traveling on private and chrter vessels. take for instance road town with the mass amount of vessels clearing in and out.. and lawd VG-dem tourist dun complaining. there are ways to do things if we had sit and give it more time and sort out this thing better it wouldn'tseem so bad. be cautious of the decisions we make frim henceforth it could alter or improve our economy.
  • oneandall (01/09/2016, 19:10) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Can anyone here speak English?
  • Chuck (01/09/2016, 19:18) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    Criminals don't check in, just going keep more people away from the BVI. Bad plan!
  • DON'T FORGET (01/09/2016, 19:27) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let us of course not forget those individuals (belongers) whom the DEA wanted to extradite after a multi-year investigation. People in glass houses should not throw stones
  • Agree! (01/09/2016, 19:33) Like (1) Dislike (2) Reply
    Totally agree with this. We have to show ourselves when we dock up in their country, so they should do the same!
  • well meh boi (01/09/2016, 19:55) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    Customs already killed Bomba's full moon party by harassing the st.thomas boaters that used to come over, Foxy's and Soggy Dollar next!
    • TORTOLIAN (05/09/2016, 23:20) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      They just put up a swim area at white bay in front of soggy $ making it more dangerous for people having to swim in and out from boats and taking away one of the main draws for US charters, a beach that boats can pull right up to, customs and immigration should be utilizing people in the industries that use the ports to figure out solutions instead of just making new rules.
  • long look me come from (01/09/2016, 19:59) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    Sometimes it is hard being LOCAL these days.
  • Mark (01/09/2016, 20:39) Like (4) Dislike (4) Reply
    This move is well overdue, its good that its finally here. To much things happening under our nose and its time enough we put a stop to it.
  • captain civil servant (01/09/2016, 22:20) Like (14) Dislike (0) Reply
    Absolutely ridiculous law in this geography and this economy. Bad stuff comes in late at night on small boats to quiet bays, or gets dropped overside with a marker buoy. Exempting daytrip boats is just a convenience if there was any logic in searching legit tourist economy boats. As your financial services industry dies, and as the sale of Moorings/Tui shakes itself out, you will wish you hadn't pissed off everyone who bought people in for the day or the week from the, frankly, more civilised USVI. They are all planning to move their boats to Cuba anyway, so you had better get the strimmer and the goat out and start clearing those vegatble plots that you decided it was demeaning to cultivate.
    • Bridgewater (12/09/2016, 02:01) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      Except that the goats been eaten the strimmer's broken and the locals are too damn idle to run a bath!
      Been sitting around relying on the tourist and charter trade for too long. Now they have killed it they can't survive as the locals are too lazy to think of an alternative income!
  • Trinitolian (01/09/2016, 22:34) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    Let's see...

    Customs and Immigration need every passenger to individually present themselves to officials. Facilities and staffing are currently inadequate to deal with the anticipated volume increase, according to feedback on here....

    So how about recruiting and training more officials and giving them authorisation to BOARD the vessels in the company of border police or someone with authority to search and detain (if the need arises) and interviewing each and every passenger ON THE VESSEL? This should provide a compromise until facilities are improved and capacity for processing increased. This is done just as easily as French border police boarding a coach at Calais which comes over on the ferry from Dover and checking passports before admitting entry; hardly rocket science.

    Come on man, if the mountain won't come to Muhammad, then Muhammad needs to go to the mountain... Recruiting and training more officials = increase in employment and improved customer service all around for decreased processing times. Interviewing passengers on vessels = better convenience for visitors and tourists and means the immigration officials can interview whomever they need to. WIN-WIN.
  • Gringo (01/09/2016, 23:41) Like (9) Dislike (1) Reply
    I don't think you understand how bad your country just shot themselves in the foot. I call the bvi home but I go back and forth for charter. If you are going to pull this move. You better step your game up with government services. I have been a bvi resident for 5 years and the treatment that I have received at customs and immigration will absolutely crumble the tourism industry if the tourists have to see it.
  • wize up (02/09/2016, 04:35) Like (5) Dislike (2) Reply
    I am just curious; when some of us travel to usvi, puerto rico,main land usa or europe; we are forced to stand quitly in long lines because you have to comply with thier homeland security procedures.....why this territory must be the only place on earth without some form of regulation!!'
    • Confusion (02/09/2016, 07:44) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
      What you say may be true but it's the luggage part that I see as the biggest issue. Along with first come first serve. Which has never excited in BVI. We all know we must wait on the ferry's even if we arrive first. Lotts of confusion here. I think the biggest issue for charter boats is they are wanting all the passengers to come ashore with luggage. Keyword LUGGAGE. Think about that :). Yes when you return to USVI all passengers must come ashore. Not a big deal as the same will work for BVI. But luggage and not checking the boat! Thats a joke
  • Daisy (02/09/2016, 07:23) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Wade got to do what Wade got to do yall
  • Tom bom (02/09/2016, 07:40) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    Appreciate what you guys are doing but make sure you have the infrastructure in place first, maybe a couple of floating docks, customs staff trained in customer service, dogs to sniff out arms and drugs. Try and think about what's involved before jumping on, it just makes you look a bit silly doesn't it.
  • Yachtie Tourist (02/09/2016, 08:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    It has never taken us more than 15 minutes to check into the USVI, and never LESS than 30 minutes when checking into the BVI, The line at JVD will stretch to White Bay! No thanks. :(
  • LIL YATCHY (02/09/2016, 08:40) Like (0) Dislike (2) Reply
    I'm just her to say I CAN'T FREESTYLE OR RAP TO SAVE MY LIFE! I wear beads that's my shame shame shame shame.
  • Ignorance is Bliss (02/09/2016, 09:29) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    Do they know how much money charter boats bring in everyday? People are paying the crazy fees they have now but will they still come if it becomes such a hassle? Also this logic doesn't make sense either, they're not searching any boats so who knows what's on board and people smuggling guns or drugs are not stopping at customs.
  • enough (02/09/2016, 09:42) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    I recently came home from a business trip and the Customs Team was searching every customer's bag. If this is the case we would need to have more thank 2 officers. We cannot keep adding systems without space or man power. While I don't mind my bags being searched think of the wait time for our visitors who have nothing to declare.
  • MnFunToBeMe (02/09/2016, 10:08) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    This might make a day trip to the BVI from STJ not make sense. Spending a lot of time in the lines at customs takes time away from an already expensive day. I don't blame them for implementing this new law, but they better damn well be ready for the repercussions it causes. How about building a marina like place out front to allow all boats coming over to tie up and get their passengers out safely. This will be a traffic jam in Tortola for sure.
  • shame.... (02/09/2016, 10:40) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Now tell me, how would this work with two cruise ships in?
  • Zebedee (02/09/2016, 12:21) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I understand that HM Customs have to be seen to do something. But criminals will always find a way to get around the system. So the reality is a huge amount of inconvenience for the masses and damage to tourism. The day boats that come from St Thomas, anchor and create a lot of disturbance in places like Smugglers, will ignore the rules anyway.

    A better solution is to target yachts at random. That is a better way to catch the undesirables. Anyone doing something illegal is not going to walk into an HM Customs office, with or without a suitable dock!
  • hmm.... (02/09/2016, 18:59) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Even though I am all for this, it's about time really.... But I wonder if this goes for the celebrities as well... Or are we gonna bend the rules for them as usual...?
  • Chaos for sure (02/09/2016, 19:24) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Speaking as someone that chartered day and overnight term trips and went through customs many, many times The whole idea of bringing the charter guests (even without luggage) into these facilities is crazy. There is barely room for the 1 person representing the whole charter. The wait is easily 30 minutes many times its more. There are not enough customs agents to handle 12 times the traffic it has right now. Plus the facilities are very small. How can it handle up to 12 times more people when they can barely keep up with the "1" charter reps now? You just have to imagine all the charters, especially day charters, trying to clear customs at 9am or so in the morning. The line is out the door with just the "1" person trying to clear everyone. There are boats everywhere. It's not that simple to just say "anchor out" and dinghy everyone in. It's pretty much impossible with the current facilities. Then think about the bigger boats. That can't even dock at customs.

    These facilities are not prepared for the amount of people
  • Observer (02/09/2016, 19:33) Like (3) Dislike (0) Reply
    As the USVI, now the BVI begins the slow decline of their tourism & boating industry via idiotic policies put in place by well intentioned but non the less small minded individuals.
    The death of 1000 cuts begins!
  • johnny bravo (02/09/2016, 19:34) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I can't wait to see customs and Immigration when there are two cruise ships in, each with over 1,500 people on. Haha. I am going to take popcorn.
  • Oh bouy (03/09/2016, 00:28) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    I can understand presenting all people to custom officers as they do in USVI , but having guest haul luggage back and forth in a dingy does not happen in USVI.
    Also, in the USVI custom and immigration officers are very well trained, efficient and respectful. They are there for one purpose and if they do t do there job well they are fired. They aren't hired sticky because they are a belonged, they are hired on skill set. The procedures are the exact same every single day.
    In the BVI clearing at customs/immigration is a constant game of what's it going to be today??? how much $$ today, how will so-so interpret the rules today, how long will we wait for xyz to arrive/open today(esp in Jost), who is going to be the rudest today, how long is this going to take today??? N
    Some have said this check in process is what "happens everywhere else" the truth is it only happens in countries that have infrastructure, professional workforce and clear standards/ protocol to carry this out.
    The BVI falls terribly short in all 3 of these areas.
  • Thinking About Myself (03/09/2016, 01:53) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    As problematic as it sounds this will help clear out the boats that come from St John and St Thomas. Plenty of room for us Tortola Day Charters on the mooring balls! As for the Cruise Ships, would love to have Immigrations thoughts on how this will work as the guests of the Cruise ships would most likely prefer to decline getting off the ship if this was the case. I would guess that the Cruise shippers would be void in this process as they are already vetted.
  • KD (04/09/2016, 08:49) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    I am glad for this and anyone who cares about the VI, the residents and general tourism should be glad also. Maybe it will also reduce the 'riff raff' and disorderly people who disrespect this beautiful place every day. You know if the boat captains are happy and most residents, it has to be a good thing.
  • Seacap (04/09/2016, 09:00) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    Is the BVI getting boring for you? Long lines at customs? Outrageous rates for moorings? Rude officials? Come to the US Virgin Islands. Cruise St Thomas, St John, Culebra and Vieques. Good value for your money. Quick and easy entry.
    We love our customers!
  • CaptT (04/09/2016, 11:37) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    This is nothing but posturing by the BVI officials , they do not have the staff or the Dock space to handle this. They are looking in the wrong direction, drug and gun running do not clear customs or board charter boat !!! It is a nightmare on busy days with just the captains clearing in . Has taken over and hour and half on busy days at Sopers Hole. NOW think about mooring or dropping anchor and taking all your charter guess and their bags in a dinghy ashore because they don't have the Dock space (and the ferries have priority. )
    How long will all this take with their helpful ways and great attitude! This is very short sighted. The folks bring in guns and drugs and not checking in at custom
  • Bluesamber (04/09/2016, 20:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    I believe intentions are good but the working practice is a shamble.Make the changes if you have increased the amount of footfall space for passengers and additional immigration officers.Remember, passengers pay a lot of money for day trips and the Captain has to organise his trips accordinglt due to weather etc.Now he has to tell pasengers queue up for 90 mins or more for immigration???/ Yes the slow death knell on the charter industry will begin and with finacial services in decline who will pay the taxes.If politicians are not careful the BVI will have no international companies that employ thousands of locals and the charter boat industry employs thousands of locals.Once again stupid idotic politicians who do not understand the industry that are placed in charge to oversee.I fear the worse for beautiful BVI and its inhabitants
  • about time! (04/09/2016, 23:09) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    With all the recent crimes affecting the way in which people live and move on this little Island, it couldn't have come at a better time. And they need to setup cameras and detection of all vessels once they enter B.V.I waters.
  • fair enough (06/09/2016, 05:08) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    Will there be snacks provided while we wait?

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