updated 8:29 PM PDT, Apr 21, 2017
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Businesses Write Minister About Fee Increase

The business community has made representation to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Natural Resources and Labour, Dr. the Hon. Kedrick Pickering for consideration as it relates to the work permit fee hike that is expected to go into effect on 15 May.

The announcement of the increase in work permit fees was made by Hon. Pickering in a statement to the House of Assembly on 18 April. However, during the continuation of the sitting on 20 April the Minister disclosed that he has since received letters from business owners.

Hon. Pickering told the House: "I have already had a number of letters with respect to the work permit fees that we have recommended to increase. A number of calls and a number of letters written by major companies in the country advising us about the implementation of the fees.”

In noting the concerns of the business owner the Deputy Premier stated many business owners feel that the timing for the increase is not opportune: “What they have said, and I want to assure them because I am sure that my colleagues will understand this, and we will all look at it again – that we are implementing the fees mid-financial year. For most of the businesses, and in some cases it is going to be a tremendous burden on the businesses. I think that it is something that we need to look at and make some decisions about,” the Labour Minister disclosed.

He announced that he was mentioning the matter in the House to assure the businesses in the Territory that their concerns have been: “It is something that we are going to review and take into consideration,” Dr. Pickering said.

On Tuesday the Minister explained that the new fee structure makes special consideration for domestic workers who will pay just one percent of their annual salary. On the other hand other workers, he said will be required to pay a three percent fee for earnings up to $25,000 per annum.

Government to Give Account for $25M Line of Credit

Leader of the Opposition and First District Representative, Hon. Andrew Fahie will be seeking an update on the $25M Line of Credit that was approved by the House of Assembly last year for the purpose of providing working capital support for the Government.

When the House of Assembly convenes today April 18th Hon. Fahie is expected to ask Premier and Minister for Finance Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith to inform the House of the total amount expended from the $25,000,000 loan facility from First Caribbean International Bank to date and the balance to be drawn down?

Hon. Fahie would also ask the Premier to provide the House with an up-to-date, detailed listing of expenditure, inclusive of dates, for each time the fund was accessed.

The Opposition was outnumbered and out voted on 25 April             2016 when a division of the House of Assembly was called; and the majority-Government approved the Motion that establishes an Operating Line of Credit at the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

The $25M Line of Credit agreement between CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank and the Government of the Virgin Islands stipulates that the Principal Repayment is to fluctuate from deposits until maturity, with an annual clean-down of any drawn balances for a period of three consecutive business days on each anniversary of the Facility.

It was further explained that the Line of Credit is essential, especially for small businesses that do business with Government.

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