In giving his contribution to the debate on the policy in the House last week, Fraser said he supports the idea of removing any tax that is attached to the land being purchased by first-time property owners who are Belongers.
“But how thorough is it when I heard the Premier said if the individual sells the land to a non-Belonger after seven years; from my understanding, the non-Belonger who purchases it gets to hold on to that tax exemption,” Fraser said.
“Seven years is a short time when it comes to property. You purchase property and sit on it for years. I am wondering if anyone is monitoring,” the senior legislator added.
Fraser, who is also the Third District Representative, drew a comparison to the amendment in the legislation stipulating that when a bank confiscates property, it cannot sell it to a non-Belonger unless that person possesses a non-Belonger land holding card.
He said he hopes something like that is thought about for Belongers looking to sell the property they bought under the Stamp Duty Waiver Policy to non-Belongers
“In the past, that was fair game. Anyone could purchase land that was repossessed whether they had a non-Belonger landholding license or not. I’m questioning whether or not the Premier has given thought to this idea that an individual can purchase the property and sell it after seven years,” the Third District Representative contended.
“Seven years is a short time when you talk about property especially land. I want to make it perfectly clear that I have no objections to the idea of Belongers purchasing property and getting a stamp duty exemption, but it must be done with good intention. It must be done with good intention and in the spirit of the law and why it is being done its not a money-grabbing situation or people to make a quick buck. It is genuine,” Fraser added.
The senior legislator also noted that this policy is like the Customs duty waiver for building materials for first-time homeowners. He said this was done several years ago and governments in the past have made provisions to enable Virgin Islanders to advance in society.
The Third District Representative said he found it interesting the history that was given by the Premier in reference to Virgin Islanders
“It is interesting that the bill speaks to amending the tax for Belongers, first-time purchasers of property and as it relates to history, he is talking about a Virgin Islander. It brings to mind the importance of my advocacy for the addition of a section of the constitution to establish an indigenous Virgin Islander. Because everything he said about land and the connection of the people to it relates to a Virgin Islander,” Fraser said.