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Wednesday, October 5, 2022


Cruise line officials said again Wednesday that they are against the $2.50 head tax on cruise ship passengers that was proposed earlier this year.
Senators and cruise line officials met again to discuss the proposed tax, and the second round of talks resulted in at least one senator changing his mind. Sen. David Jones said he can no longer support the tax, according to the Daily News.
There was some speculation that the rerouting of ships and the announced cancellation of visits in recent months was the cruise ship industry's way of flexing its muscles. Carnival Cruise Line alone has canceled 10 calls for the upcoming summer season —- five in May, two in August and three in September
Michele Paige of the Florida Caribbean Cruise Association was asked by reporters if there was any truth to the speculation. She said, "I have no comment."
Sen. Alicia "Chucky" Hansen, who has all along opposed the head tax, said, "We need to ask the question ‘What will happen if the $2.50 increase goes into effect?' Everybody knows we need the cruise ships."
Capt. Kaare Bakke, superintendent of Maritime Operations with Norwegian Cruise Line, said, "The outcome of this proposed tax could affect the decision whether to continue to schedule coming here," according to the V.I. Independent.
The proposed tax, which would come on top of a $7.50 passenger fee currently being collected by West Indian Co. Ltd. on all passengers entering St. Thomas aboard cruise ships, would be directed to the general fund under the proposal initiated by Sen. Roosevelt David.
Currently, $3.50 of the fee goes to WICO and the remaining $4 to the Port Authority, according to Calvin Wheatley, spokesperson for WICO.
Jones said he will move for an amendment to have the $2.50 head tax removed from the Financial Accountability Bill introduced by Sen. Lorraine Berry last week.
James Frances of Berry's office said the senator is off-island, but she remains in favor of the head tax.

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