HOUSE PASSES 2 TOURISM MOTIONS, IMMIGRATION BILL
Chief Minister and Leader of Government Business, Mr. Victor Banks, moved two Motions relating to tourism which were unanimously passed in the Anguilla House of Assembly on Tuesday, January 31.
The first was for duty-free concessions to Mr. Todville Harrigan, a taxi-driver at Island Harbour who mainly operates at the Blowing Point Ferry Terminal and also runs an island-wide bus service. He applied for the duty-free concessions for a new bus.
In making the case for the concessions, the Chief Minister said in part: “Mr. Todville Harrigan is a very pioneering Anguillian. He has been involved in Anguilla for a very long time going back from this 50th year of the Anguilla Revolution. He was one of those persons imprisoned in St. Kitts. He is a very respectable citizen of Anguilla, a recipient of the Anguilla Medal of Honour and Queen’s Certificate. We think it [the duty-free exemption] is a good gesture even though it is something which, in normal circumstance, we support. It is a good gesture to allow him to import a bus/taxi vehicle in keeping with the work he has been doing in the community.”
In joining the other Members in support of the Motion, Opposition Leader, Ms. Palmavon Webster, was of the view that the exemption might stimulate the level of activity in the economy of Anguilla to justify the duty free concessions in the short term.
The Member for Road South, and Minister of Communications, Mr. Curtis Richardson, said in part: “I would like members of the public to know that we are dealing with the issue of taxi licences. Any other person in the taxi business, who wants to bring a vehicle into Anguilla, we will give that person similar consideration.”
The other Motion for duty free concessions was with respect to Mr. Bevington Harrigan, owner of Madeariman Restaurant, at the gateway to Shoal Bay Beach, which was recently destroyed by fire. The Chief Minister said: “Shoal Bay is one of the most visited beaches on the island…Mr. Harrigan was the victim of a fire which destroyed the entire property that has been there for close to thirty years and it is an important part of the tourism offering.
“The Government, at a time of disaster, has responded with support to Mr. Harrigan and he was able to get back into the tourism and restaurant service. The day the fire took place they were cleaning up with the anticipation of opening in a couple of days…The support of the Government is in the form of duty exemption for the building material used to reconstruct Madeariman Restaurant.
“The duty loss is in the amount of $44,434.00. This is a small contribution in terms of the resources and funds that were required to bring the property back on track. I am happy to say that the property is now operating well and the same exceptional service continues to be provided.”
The Motion was seconded by the Member for Valley North, Mr. Evans McNiel Rogers. Mr. Curtis Richardson described the restaurant as “a hallmark property on the beach at Shoal Bay.”
In terms of Government Business, Attorney General, Mr. John McKendrick QC, moved the “recommittal of the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Bill, 2016” in the House of Assembly for further changes, passage and re-dating to 2017. He explained that the Bill was passed in the House in September 2016. He said his Chambers had found that a section of the legislation “was somewhat troubling” as it created a power for regulations to be made to waive British visas for persons entering British territories. He said the Bill was thought to be unconstitutional as it encroached on the power reserved for the UK Government. As a consequence the Bill was returned to the House with the necessary amendments.
Minister of Home Affairs, Mrs. Cora Richardson Hodge, said among other things: “The issue, which the Hon. Attorney General identified, is a provision that was in the original Immigration and Passport Act and the words that were set out there were continued in the amendment. When it went to the Attorney General Chambers he was able to identify that there were certain difficulties with the wording as set out in the original law.
“The purpose of the original Immigration and Passport Act was, and has always been, with respect to exempting the payment of fees for certain individuals…That continues to remain the intent and the purpose of the Immigration and Passport (Amendment) Act. There is no difficulty with respect to the proposed changes by the Governor for inclusion in the amendment.”
The amendments were made during the committee stage of the House of Assembly following which the Bill was passed.