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Implementing Antigua Tax waiver for Montserrat delayed

 GoM Premier Donaldson Romeo

GoM Premier Donaldson Romeo

Airport Tax waiver implementation delayed by process
BRADES—The much hoped for Antigua airport tax waiver for passengers traveling and overstaying for more than 24 hours between Antigua and Montserrat have reportedly met with minor bottlenecks, the result of due process that have caused it to be not yet implemented or enforced.
Early last week, a few travellers had taken to social media, seemingly ill-advisedly with the information that they had in fact been charged the usual tax despite the announcement from the Premier that there would be a tax waiver. First passengers unfortunately were reportedly trapped overnight in Antigua, when flood rains disrupted airport facilities and flights. Premier Donaldson Romeo has since explained that the landing tax waiver agreement is delayed because of “technical difficulties” in the exact wording on the authority.
“They (Antiguan authorities) made an error in their communication back to me, in their decision over what tax was to be removed. So when I came and made the announcement it was a clear agreement between us, but there was a technical difficulty in the wording, so I had to give them a chance to correct it. So, I wouldn’t come on the radio to state this before I gave them a chance to correct it. There was a clear agreement to assist us with waivering but it was the process by which Antigua itself would finalize it that was the problem,” Premier Romeo explained.
When implemented the waiver will apply to persons who spend more than 24 hours in Antigua. According to the Montserrat Premier, the waiver agreement was discussed in Antigua’s cabinet last week and a decision was taken to provide the waiver as a grant which means funds from Antigua’s treasury will pay the tax it would cost Montserratians traveling…. one way or both ways. This waiver is projected to bring some reprieve for travellers between Antigua and Montserrat as well as business owners who depend on importing and exporting cargo using the Antigua – Montserrat route.
Earlier this month, on April 1, 2016 a number of would-be ferry travellers soon realised it was not an April Fool’s Day prank finding themselves stranded at Little Bay, after the captain of the Ferry MV Caribe Sun reportedly said he would not set sail until he had an agreement going on since there was no contract in place, the latest one having expired the night before on March 31, 2016. Later that day arrangements were made prior to the ferry eventually sailing at about 2.00 p.m., for passengers making onward connections in Antigua to be airlifted to Antigua by flights by SVG Air and Fly Montserrat. The services of the MV Caribe Sun then ground to a permanent halt, according to the Premier when they refused to agree further offers for any interim involvement in an extension of the concluded contract.
By midweek the Premier further explained that terms of the Antigua waiver provides for $100,000 to be paid to the Airport Authority to facilitate the tax due, assuring that the waiver will be retroactive. “The government of Antigua is resolving on their end the mechanisim by which the grant is awarded to the airlines in order for the taxes to be waivered. I can also assure you that consideration will be given to those who have paid these taxes during the period which started April 18.”
Meanwhile, the Government of Montserrat engaged the airlines servicing Montserrat, using the subsidy being used for the ferry services– US$7,000.00 per day—so travellers now pay $400.00 return excluding any tax. The return ferry fare was $300.00 plus applicable departure and other taxes.
“When you make a decision in cabinet, it doesn’t come into effect automatically. Had the previous one been correct it would have been in effect by now,” Premier Romeo had later explained further.
New tender for Ferry Services
In the meantime, following an announcement by the Premier that the services involving the ferry would move to the Premier’s office from the Ministry of Communications and Works, GoM has hastened to invite tenders for a new ferry service. This is against the backdrop of news which surfaced that GoM had for some months being looking at a ferry, which was bigger and better suited for Montserrat.
The invitation for the ferry service is to be contracted as follows: for an initial five (5) months with possible extensions on a one month basis up to 18 months; with a beginning date of June 8, 2016.

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

 GoM Premier Donaldson Romeo

GoM Premier Donaldson Romeo

Airport Tax waiver implementation delayed by process
BRADES—The much hoped for Antigua airport tax waiver for passengers traveling and overstaying for more than 24 hours between Antigua and Montserrat have reportedly met with minor bottlenecks, the result of due process that have caused it to be not yet implemented or enforced.
Early last week, a few travellers had taken to social media, seemingly ill-advisedly with the information that they had in fact been charged the usual tax despite the announcement from the Premier that there would be a tax waiver. First passengers unfortunately were reportedly trapped overnight in Antigua, when flood rains disrupted airport facilities and flights. Premier Donaldson Romeo has since explained that the landing tax waiver agreement is delayed because of “technical difficulties” in the exact wording on the authority.
“They (Antiguan authorities) made an error in their communication back to me, in their decision over what tax was to be removed. So when I came and made the announcement it was a clear agreement between us, but there was a technical difficulty in the wording, so I had to give them a chance to correct it. So, I wouldn’t come on the radio to state this before I gave them a chance to correct it. There was a clear agreement to assist us with waivering but it was the process by which Antigua itself would finalize it that was the problem,” Premier Romeo explained.
When implemented the waiver will apply to persons who spend more than 24 hours in Antigua. According to the Montserrat Premier, the waiver agreement was discussed in Antigua’s cabinet last week and a decision was taken to provide the waiver as a grant which means funds from Antigua’s treasury will pay the tax it would cost Montserratians traveling…. one way or both ways. This waiver is projected to bring some reprieve for travellers between Antigua and Montserrat as well as business owners who depend on importing and exporting cargo using the Antigua – Montserrat route.
Earlier this month, on April 1, 2016 a number of would-be ferry travellers soon realised it was not an April Fool’s Day prank finding themselves stranded at Little Bay, after the captain of the Ferry MV Caribe Sun reportedly said he would not set sail until he had an agreement going on since there was no contract in place, the latest one having expired the night before on March 31, 2016. Later that day arrangements were made prior to the ferry eventually sailing at about 2.00 p.m., for passengers making onward connections in Antigua to be airlifted to Antigua by flights by SVG Air and Fly Montserrat. The services of the MV Caribe Sun then ground to a permanent halt, according to the Premier when they refused to agree further offers for any interim involvement in an extension of the concluded contract.
By midweek the Premier further explained that terms of the Antigua waiver provides for $100,000 to be paid to the Airport Authority to facilitate the tax due, assuring that the waiver will be retroactive. “The government of Antigua is resolving on their end the mechanisim by which the grant is awarded to the airlines in order for the taxes to be waivered. I can also assure you that consideration will be given to those who have paid these taxes during the period which started April 18.”
Meanwhile, the Government of Montserrat engaged the airlines servicing Montserrat, using the subsidy being used for the ferry services– US$7,000.00 per day—so travellers now pay $400.00 return excluding any tax. The return ferry fare was $300.00 plus applicable departure and other taxes.
“When you make a decision in cabinet, it doesn’t come into effect automatically. Had the previous one been correct it would have been in effect by now,” Premier Romeo had later explained further.
New tender for Ferry Services
In the meantime, following an announcement by the Premier that the services involving the ferry would move to the Premier’s office from the Ministry of Communications and Works, GoM has hastened to invite tenders for a new ferry service. This is against the backdrop of news which surfaced that GoM had for some months being looking at a ferry, which was bigger and better suited for Montserrat.
The invitation for the ferry service is to be contracted as follows: for an initial five (5) months with possible extensions on a one month basis up to 18 months; with a beginning date of June 8, 2016.