During the Continuation of the Sixth Sitting of the Fourth Session of the Fourth House of Assembly on August 9, 2022, during the debate on a 5% reduction on customs duties, Hon Smith said VI legislators must ensure savings are passed on to legislators.
“Prices are really ridiculous, you cannot go in the supermarket and buy anything for $100 anymore, with $100 you coming out with one bag, so we have to make sure that this happens because a lot of people really suffering over this,” Hon Smith said.
“Unless we put measures in place to keep an eye on what’s going on, it will happen again… We have to make sure that when we get this break, we also give a break to customers,” he added.
Meanwhile, Opposition Member Hon Carvin Malone (AL) said he has had conversations and debates on how to reduce the cost of items coming to the VI, pointing to supply and shipping reasons as one of the reasons.
"I go to other places, and the cost to get it [goods] there is muss less than the cost to get it here in the BVI, they think we have more money," he added.
Hon Malone said that translates to 'pressure' and it is visible on every shelf and for every item in VI stores.
The Opposition Member said legislators need to sit around the table and find a balance between offering relief that reduces government revenues since those reliefs often do not make it to consumers.
"It 5% here, 5% there, can't really see it on the shelf because it's 20% by the time it reaches you, and when you look at it, government coffers are down," he said.