The existing fees range from $25 to $250 for Belongers and $200 to $600 for non-Belongers; however, under the new proposed structure, the fees range from $150 to $1,500 for Belongers and $1,500 to $15,000 for non-Belongers depending on the category of business.
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Hon Natalio D. Wheatley (R7) said the National Unity Government has “aimed to be competitive and relatively affordable while balancing the need for the Virgin Islands Trade Commission to generate revenue to become more self-sufficient and make a contribution to the overall finances of the Virgin Islands.”
According to Mr Skelton-Cline, the increase fees could have a negative impact on local new upstarts and emerging small businesses.
“What this does, particularly amongst the local industrious population, is that it eliminates….and substantively are going to eliminate persons from pursuing businesses and upstarts,” Skelton-Cline said during his Honestly Speaking radio show on June 21, 2022.
According to the talk show host, he understands the need for revenue, “I am clear on that and I am clear that there is always a need for the tightening of legislation and I am clear that some of these rates have been in place for a while. What concerns me is it coming on stream at a time like this.
“It begs to question the notion, the motive, the intention behind that,” Mr Skelton-Cline stated.