Her comments come following the recent hike in fees at the BVI Ports Authority (BVIPA), which has sparked concerns among stakeholders and regular consumers due to the timing.
While on the Honestly Speaking Radio Programme with host Mr Claude O. Skelton Cline on ZBVI 780 AM on Thursday, April 1 2021, Hon Flax-Charles said Government will hold off on any new fees or fee increase until some level of normalcy has returned.
“What I will say about the fees as I have said in all the other stakeholder consultations as well as the public consultations, while there are fees on the books...we have no intention of raising the fees at this time.
“For us, it does not make sense to put additional pressure on businesses until we are back to some sense of normalcy within our economy and within the world.”
Hon Flax-Charles noted; however, that the business sector can expect new fees to be introduced with the coming on stream of the Trade Commission.
“The fees though that will come on stream eventually are much lower than our counterparts. We have done extensive research, and we are much lower than our counterparts within the Caribbean region; that’s where we did most of the research.”
Reiterating that Government has no intention of raising any business fees at this particular time, Hon Flax-Charles said she is seeing light at the end of the tunnel and the Government wants to make sure that the business community is comfortable.
"We had some really great stakeholder meetings, and persons were very candid, they told us what they wanted to see, what they didn’t want to see and we appreciate that because it is a work in progress and we must work together to come up with something that is suitable for both the private and the public sector.”
Policy Analyst Lizette O. George, who also added her voice to the discourse, said: “Currently the fees are set to belongers and non-belongers; however, the new fees, the fees that are identified in the act, they are base fees and they are some of the professional areas where the fees will depend on the size of the business.
“So say, for instance, a law firm that may have one to five lawyers may have a lesser fee than the law firm that would have about 10 to 20 lawyers. Say, for instance, a restaurant that would have a certain number of sittings would have a lower fee structure than a larger restaurant with more sittings. But those things will be developed in our specific standards for licensing, which are not yet dealt down; those would be in regulations,” she explained.