Two Government senators this evening disagreed over the position taken by the Freundel Stuart administration on the imposition of fees on personal barrels entering the Bridgetown Port.
Senator, the Reverend David Durant was contributing to the debate in the Upper Chamber on the 2014-2015 Estimates of Revenue And Expenditure, when he declared that the government was not in agreement with the charging of $25 per barrel on personal effects coming through the port.
Durant said such a fee would be a burden to people, who were already going through other financial struggles.
“As it relates to the Barbados Port Inc., I am seriously against an introduction by the Barbados Port Authority of a $25 per barrel on personal household effects that are sent here to the poor people of this island. I believe this will be a burden on people receiving food items and other basic amenities within a barrel . . . freight, to be paying $25 per barrel; if they bring two, that’s $50 and if they bring three, that’s $75.
“I really against that and would continue to voice my objection to that, and I don’t think the Government . . . I know the Government is not in agreement with that anyhow. That’s a Barbados Port Authority decision, and I really think that it should not go forward,” he stated.
However, another Government senator, Irene Sandiford-Garner, quickly rose to her feet and insisted that her colleague was misleading the Senate.
“Madam president, I hate to interrupt my colleague in his presentation, but I stand on a point of order; he is misleading the chamber. The Barbados Government is in favour of a $25 fee on barrels. I must make that clear,” asserted Sandiford-Garner, who is parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Tourism.
But once she had sat back down and Durant continued his speech, his retort was: “They are in favour, okay! All Right. Well, thanks, my colleague. I, I,I think that will be hard on people, and that’s why I objected to it in the first place.
“If there are people,” he added, “bringing commercial items in barrels under the pretext of personal effects, then those barrels should be treated as commercial cargo and customs documentation with CIF valued should be applied and duties paid.”
Durant did not think that a person with “just a couple goods”, [or] foods items should have that charge afixed to them.
“They already have freight and other things ton pay for,” he observed.
The Government senator also turned his attention to the Grantley Adams International Airport. He felt that within the plans to renovate it, the construction of six air bridges should be included.
Durant said that the bridges would serve to shelter arriving and departing passengers – between the terminal buildings and plane – when it rains. He suggested, too, that management should protect those areas within the terminal itself, which got wet when the rain fell.
Durant called also for focus to be placed on faith-based and pilgrimage tourism, pointing to what he termed a gallery of culture
found within the island’s architecturally attractive churches.