7 REMOTE ISLAND VIEWING SOLUTIONS AMIDST GLOBAL TRAVEL BAN

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

So, you’re wondering what it’s like at the beach on a faraway island right now. Who is in the water – that cute guy with the red hair and hockey jock, muscle tower body? Or the kitesurfing girl with the long, curly hair? But. You’re stuck because of travel bans. We know the feeling. 

May we present some remote island viewing solutions.

You can now view webcams of Caribbean island spots in the Virgin Islands on any of your devices right now! 

Even better, why not set the right atmosphere for remote island viewing at home right now? 

Solution 1: Make yourself a fresh Margarita – or any cocktail that you have ingredients for at home. Next, swipe your iPad and find some soft steel drum music or reggae to hum in the background. If you don’t have that ready, may we suggest you listen to Soggy Dollar Radio which streams live worldwide from the Soggy Dollar Bar. One tune and you’ll feel like you’re sitting on the soft sands of White Bay. (See Solution 7 for more info on this world famous party bar.)

Anyway, run a nice bath, add some bubbles and soak in it. Now, bring up an island on your iPad screen – maybe one in the US Virgin Islands like a view of the Caravelle Hotel in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands – and sip away at that home-made cocktail in your hand. 

Solution 2: But now that you’re alone in your bathroom with that Sex on the Beach in your hand, you’re feeling a little lonely, right? Not to worry. If you visit these following links, you’ll realize other people who are probably lonely and watching too will comment on what’s happening at the location you’re viewing. (We’re starting to get the hang of this ‘together alone’ thing now.)

Or mostly, when they are there, virtually, they just connect with whomever is also there at the same time and chatting online via Youtube. Some may use this function to hook up with the closest person willing. 

At this point you may want to swipe to iTunes and find that song that talks about “lov(ing) the one you’re with…”

This webcam seems to be particularly popular in the abovementioned sense:

St. John Spice Webcam – Cruz Bay Ferry Dock, St. John, US Virgin Islands. 

Others – this might or might not be more your style – may use this for the greater good. 

Solution 3: For those who miss getting out and appreciating wildlife, the next best thing could be to check for sea turtles nesting in the middle of the night right where a beach bar was built. Normally beach bars like this come into existence during a season when the sea turtles are not nesting. The next webcam location is a bar and was named after a type of sea turtle, a Leatherback Turtle. Please note, that doesn’t mean the bar was built on a sea turtle nest. But why not just check for live, night roaming sea turtles? Wild life seems to be more rampant during human lockdown anyway. Just keep staring, maybe with a Mud Slide to sip on now? (I couldn’t think of anything more “wildlife” than a drink based on looking like mud…) – Leatherback Landing, Cane Bay, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands:

You may one day even stare at the beach in Cruz Bay, St. John and realise you’re looking at a dolphin – or golly, an alien – doing a jump for the webcam, just to show ‘em! The Beach Bar, Cruz Bay, St. John, US Virgin Islands:

or a live webcam overlooking Schooner Bay in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands:

Solution 4: See calm waters ripple and palm trees flap in an easy, possibly balmy (we hope) breeze. You’re so tired after making that umpteenth sourdough bread or attending that Zoom exercise class, like nearly everybody else was during lockdown. This webcam is basically simply for watching the beautiful ocean as it is at the newest hotel in Frederiksted, The Fred Hotel, Restaurant & Bar, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands:

Solution 5: Since you can’t physically be at a party in the Virgin Islands right now, what you can do is click on this webcam of downtown Christiansted, St. Croix – which normally is the location for a party, provided it’s not under the influence of a pandemic or hurricane. This link may help on a Friday or Saturday night as many concerts and parties happen in this area. Also, just so you can check and see that everyone else, even at a notorious party place, is also not partying. 

Caravelle Hotel & Casino Concert Cam, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands:

Solution 6: Worried about your career – like mostly everyone else in the world – and whether anyone else is mingling with potential business contacts and not you? Well, check out the remote view of 5 star, Buccaneer Hotel – that potential client you’ve been wanting to approach with your business card might be playing golf or tennis again right now or in the next week – Buccaneer Beach and Golf Resort, St. Croix, US Virgin Islands. At least you can know now how often and when he normally plays tennis or golf there. 

Solution 7: Make a list of all these locations and venues for when the travel ban lifts. That way you will immediately know where and when to go in the Virgin Islands. When you get there, and the travel bans are now slowly lifting, you may also be in a boat party mood. Therefore, you shouldn’t miss a remote view of the famous Soggy Dollar Bar in Joost van Dyk now. I mean, you have to check where is the best spot to dock your boat. If you have a boat. Or if your friend has a boat. Or if your friend has a friend with a boat. Or if your boat has a friend.  Soggy Dollar Bar – Jost Van Dyke, White Bay, British Virgin Islands.

How to get there? No worries, we’ve got you covered. You can rent a boat like the Caribbean Blue Boat Charters. They can take you from St. Thomas to the British Virgin Islands, just be sure to bring your passport. 

Chat with Rebel Outdoor Piano Man in St. Thomas, USVI, during Covid-19.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Freddie Rabuse. www.facebook.com/freddierabuse

I’m sure you’ve seen them on Facebook and Instagram during this worldwide lockdown – almost every musician, famous or not, has taken to posting in-home concerts online. Hence, it’s refreshing to see someone doing live outdoor concerts on the back of a pick-up truck! Freddie Rabuse, the well-known Piano Man from St. Thomas, USVI, is doing just that and making some listeners and his own pocket very happy.

Well, why not be a bit of a rebel and make some sweet noise outside? He’s not breaking any rules. He’s social distancing plus getting some healthy Vitamin D. He is also bringing the power and charm of live music to the people. It’s a win-win situation!

Sure, a Caribbean musician’s life during a pandemic can be challenging. But according to Freddie, who always is full of fun and jokes, the pros outweigh the cons. It’s still a lifestyle like none other.

While living on an island, you must never forget that life’s speed is always measured at the island’s pace. And it’s actually really simple in Caribbean climes: stay indoors when it’s hot and go outside when it’s cool. For an island musician, or any musician anywhere, that translates to practicing during the day and performing at night. With the pandemic in the mix, Freddie the maverick, however, has now taken to playing outdoors during the day and resting at night because most venues are closed, even night curfews are in place.

In times like these, people have to make do, make some dough by drawing on any skill the outside world might deem buyable. Freddie is originally from New York and that is where he learned to play the piano. In fact, he has been making a living like this for a few decades now, having travelled the world for it – from St. Tropez to Norway to New York City to St. Thomas. He also has a strong talent for ball sports – he still plays a mean game of basket ball and tennis. Being multi-talented sure helps to keep the pot cooking in the kitchen, meaning he teaches these sports on the island when the opportunity arises.

I asked Freddie some questions, since he is not so busy at the moment, like everyone else in the world practicing social distancing, really.

What is it like to run a business on a Caribbean island?  I enjoy being self-employed in the Virgin Islands. With my entertainment skills I usually have a good choice of venues to work at. 

How are you coping during the Covid-19 crisis? I’m able to do a few things for money – keyboard rental, piano lessons online and in person, tennis lessons, online mini concerts. This brings in much less than when I’m normally performing, but it’s something. No governmental assistance has come in but that window is still open. Health-wise, I’ve respected the social distancing mandate but I have been out, getting exercise. It’s good for the immune system. 

What is the first thing you will do to spark interest in your business when the crisis is over? When the crisis is over, hopefully I’ll be reinstated at the restaurants I worked at.

Check out Freddie’s special touch on keyboards and his off-the-cuff jokes, here and there, on www.facebook.com/freddierabuse. Also, on YouTube just search: “Freddie Rabuse pickup”. Once one hears his skills, one realizes it takes many years of practice and a special talent to do what he does. This must be celebrated in an age where Guitar Hero and Wii deceive kids into thinking they can play a musical instrument when they actually can’t. You can donate to his virtual tip jar at:

VENMO: Venmo.com/Freddie-Rabuse

PAYPAL: PayPal.me/freddierabuse

Next time you’re in St Thomas, check out Freddie Rabuse and his music by staying up to date on his movements via Facebook. Or you can just embark on a trip to a beautiful Caribbean island right now by following him, as he virtually transports you to a beautiful ocean-side bristling in the background.


Advertisements

Chat with Local “Ms Congeniality” and Restaurant Owner of St. Croix, USVI during Covid-19.

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Elena Lee-Hensley.

If you know Elena of Christiansted’s fun hangout, New Deep End, you know that calling her Ms Congeniality (as she was dubbed in high school) is not really far-fetched.

She runs one of the most socially interactive spots on the island where every night is potentially a theme night for the entire family, from crab races to dress-up parties to ‘Disco Bingo’ on Thursday nights for which reservations need to be made weeks in advance. And not to forget the Sunday Fundays and sometimes even Monday Fundays when beach goers and beach-bar bums dance from noon to close.

Steven Katz performs at New Deep End almost every Sunday brunch.
Adrian Rogers – Performs at New Deep End almost every Monday Night

Of course, Covid-19’s global reset, and its lockdown effects, also reached the sandy shores of St. Croix where Elena excites the socialites.

Can you imagine being on a Caribbean island, confined to your house? Must be tough not being able to move freely, knowing the ocean, the palm trees, the sunsets are just outside your door… let alone enjoying a cocktail or lovely dinner at your favorite local beach hangout. 

But don’t despair too much, Caribbean islanders have known tough times for hundreds of years. Alexander Hamilton, a former resident of this island, wrote how devastated – post-hurricane – this island was 250-odd years ago. The islanders have become very resilient and accustomed to hurricanes and tropical storms, to these uninvited visitors to their shores. Somehow they always manage to receive tourists and travelers from far and wide to join them on their beautiful islands though. Just give them a little time to clean up, get some fresh air and brush off the cobwebs – no problem.

Elena, too, stepped up like any vigilant denizen when the last hurricane hit St. Croix, and helped supply food and rescue packages to sister islands St. Thomas and St. John. That was, until St. Croix was hit a second time and then needed help from anywhere they could get it.

Back to today, here’s some good news – some beaches in the Caribbean have now been re-opened. But like anywhere else in the world right now, life is not what it is supposed to be in the mega land of sun and sand. Businesses forced to close, or in the case of restaurants like New Deep End – just serving takeouts – are at the forefront of the worst hit in this part of the world too. What’s more, many islands are still struggling to find their feet after a particularly bad hurricane season in 2017.

Almost every night is a theme night

I asked Elena, whose popular bar and grille, located at the Tamarind Resort in the US Virgin Islands, to give us some insights into the “through thick and thin” of an island restaurateur’s life.

What is it like to run a business on a Caribbean island?

Running a business in the Caribbean is always challenging. In the restaurant business, consistency in product delivery is one of our biggest challenges. Our food and beverage distributors ship in all of their inventory from the States. Many times it is not always the same brands or they weren’t able to get the product on the boat in time.

In the Virgin Islands, since the last two cat 5 hurricanes hit us in September 2017 (within a week of each other), our housing situation has caused a tremendous toll on staffing. 

Following Hurricane Maria our hotels that were still standing filled up with Rescue Relief workers. There were not enough rooms to support all those, including the linesmen and additional FEMA workers, so they turned to private homes. Those who owned houses that were in good shape were able to rent them at a higher price than they had been charging locals. Rents went from $1,200 a month to $12,000 a month, forcing a lot of the restaurant industry to leave island. 

We are still trying to recover from loss of staffing as a result of this.

How are you coping during the Covid 19 crisis?

Deep End Bar & Grille’s struggle with staffing increased when we finally began to see a “tourist season” around Christmas. We worked the few staff members we had with a lot of overtime until we came to a screeching halt with the Coronavirus. Many restaurants closed down while others have been struggling to stay open with the “take out only: park, pick up & go”.

I have changed my hours every week, to balance paying staff to work when there is a demand for food. I have gone from 9am to 5pm the first week 7 days a week to Mon- Fri. 3-8pm. I am still not making ends meet.

What is the first thing you will do to spark interest in your business when the crisis is over?

During this “down time” I am painting, cleaning and reorganizing the restaurant for reopening in the future. I also post regularly on facebook.com/ElenaLeeHensley, facebook.com/newdeepend and www.newdeepend.com about what’s up and menu specials.

Elena has all kinds of food specials running at New Deep End. Wednesdays, for instance, are Buddy Burger Night. Buy one and get any second one 1/2 off. You can choose from the regular menu too, excluding the Caprese Burger. Regular menu begins at 3pm and the following specials begin at 4pm. But like she said she changes the times weekly, so rather check out her postings on her social media pages or website. Here are some of her current specials:

Smothered ‘n Covered Burger —–$16 (covered with sautéed onions and mushrooms, swiss cheese, may and BBQ sauce).

California BLT Burger ——$16 (topped with fresh avocado and mayo).

Snapper Sandwich Supreme ——$16 (fried with sautéed peppers and onions, Marinara sauce and melted mozzarella cheese).

Spicy Jerk Chicken Quesadilla ——$14 (with pineapple veggie chutney and mozzarella cheese).

Sides available: Tomato/cucumber salad, coleslaw, regular fries, wedge fries, sweet potato fries.

Cream of Broccoli Soup – Cup ——$6 or Bowl ——$8.

$8 Dessert: Mango Cream Pie or Pineapple Upside Down Cake.

What can you do to help a business like New Deep End? 

Support them by ordering takeout or by sharing the news of their great food with your friends, so they can also enjoy it’s many delectables. Or, dream ahead and buy a food voucher for when you do get back to St. Croix. Their menu is available on the website: www.newdeepend.com or call now: +1 (340) 718-7071 (No Voice Mail).

By Liz Piano. www.facebook.com/lizpiano


Advertisements

Future proofing Caribbean tourism

Future proofing Caribbean tourism
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The statistics vary, but reliable Caribbean and international entities suggest that the region’s tourism sector is now delivering on average directly and indirectly about 40.6 percent of the Caribbean’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), although, in Aruba, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, The Bahamas, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), and most overseas territories tourism, the figure is much higher.

Detailed country by country analysis and statistics produced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) suggest that sustaining the contribution tourism makes has become critical to the long-term economic stability of almost every Caribbean nation other than Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, and Guyana.

Despite this, little thought has been given to how to future proof the industry as disruptive technologies take their toll, the region’s largely sun, sea and sand high-volume offering becomes subject to multiple global pressures likely to affect traveller sentiment and international competition increases.

Read full article at Caribbean News Global

Moving to the Island of Aruba

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Rodger's Beach, San Nicolas, Aruba
Rodger’s Beach, San Nicolas, Aruba

If you want to enjoy beautiful white sand beaches, friendly locals, windsurfing, kitesurfing or terrific diving – Aruba is a good place to call home (1). You may have been searching for the perfect spot in paradise to retire – or you may just be looking for adventure in a faraway and tropical country. Either way, Aruba could be the right choice for your next destination.

Though you may have spent months or years looking before deciding to choose Aruba, the process of moving can also take time. You’ll need to prepare yourself beforehand, by packing up your household and selecting a qualified international moving service provider. A key part of preparation is also getting all the required paperwork pulled together, and learning about the various import regulations and duties. Here’s most of what you need to know, in one easy guide.

What Are the Duties?

Sunset in Aruba
Sunset in Aruba

Duties can add a significant amount to the total cost of your move, but fortunately Aruba allows you to be exempted from this expense. To receive import duty exemption, there’s a handful of requirements that you must meet.

First, your primary place of residence must have been outside of Aruba, for a minimum of the last year. This means you must have lived at that address, for a minimum of 185 days in the previous 12 months. You must demonstrate that you lived there for a job, and if not – then show documentation proving you were indeed residing there (not just had an address at that location). Second, you cannot already be a resident of Aruba.

The third requirement is that the belongings you’ll be importing, be used in the same way as in the origin country. For example, if an item was for personal (not commercial) use in your previous residence, it should remain so in Aruba. Fourth, these goods are required to have been used by you, in your residence within your country of origin for at least six months. Fifth, only used goods are eligible for duty exemption (2). Finally, you’re not allowed to sell, let others borrow or even give away these items while in the country (3).

Import Regulations

A Shade Tree on a Beach in Aruba
A Shade Tree on a Beach in Aruba

Customs has some regulations that you must follow, when importing your belongings into the country. There’s a time limit to receive duty exemption, and you can’t import a shipment more than 12 months after you enter Aruba (some sources say 6 months). However, if you need more time, it’s possible that an extension may be granted by the Customs Commissioner (if you request it). You can also only receive duty exemption on two shipments total of household goods (4).

Appeal Process

If your shipment is denied duty exemption by customs, you have one month to appeal this decision (the Commissioner of Customs will make the final determination). If your appeal to the Commissioner of Customs is again denied – you have another month to appeal to the Board of Appeals in Tax Affairs. It appears that the board’s decision will be final (5).

Clearance Process

Aruba requires that you be at the point or port of entry, during the processing of your shipment. Be aware that customs has the full legal authority to examine your shipment, and this could take up to one month to complete. If your shipment violates the import regulations, the Customs Authority can impose fines or disciplinary action. Finally, you’re required to speak with the agent working on your behalf in Aruba, as soon as you enter the country (6).

What Paperwork Will You Need?

Palm Beach, Aruba
Palm Beach, Aruba

When it comes to importing your household belongings, customs requires that you provide the necessary paperwork for your shipment. This includes your passport and Original Bill of Lading (for sea shipments) or Air Waybill (for air shipments). An import declaration and Tax ID from the Tax Service Office are also required (7). An ID card may also be needed, and whether this is a separate document isn’t clear.

For census purposes, you’ll also need a Certificate of Registration from the Population Register in Aruba (customs will want this in triplicate). You’ll also need a Residence Permit from the Directorate of Alien Integration, Policy & Admission (DIMAS for short). A packing list is also mandatory documentation, along with a Household Goods Form and Exemption Declaration Form. A Duty Exemption Request Form (Form C420) should also be provided (8).

Finally, customs will need to see a comprehensive inventory, which includes monetary values for all of your items. This also must be submitted in triplicate, and it should bear your signature and the date (9).

What Are the Duties For Your Vehicle?

Sailboat Off the Coast of Aruba
Sailboat Off the Coast of Aruba

Turning from the importation of your household goods to your vehicle, you may be wondering what duties you’ll pay. You’ll be relieved to discover, that Aruba does allow you to be exempt from import duties – if you meet a single requirement. You must have owned and used the vehicle at your previous primary residence, for a minimum of the last six months.

If your vehicle successfully receives duty exemption, you’re not allowed to sell or transfer ownership of it while in the country. The vehicle also can’t be lent to others, used as security or placed in escrow. Exceptions to these rules are possible, but you must request one from the Commissioner of Customs. You also must give the Technical Department of Customs the Excise Documents for the vehicle – and you’re not guaranteed approval of your request (10).

Import Regulations For Your Vehicle

Oranjestad, Aruba
Oranjestad, Aruba

Aruba is quite open to the importation of all different types of vehicles. If you meet the requirement for exemption covered above, it’s possible to import not only your personal motor vehicle – but also your motorcycle, boat, sports craft or airplane without paying duty. Whether you can bring in more than one of these vehicles at a time isn’t specified, so speak to customs to learn more.

Another regulation imposed by customs, is that your Original Bill of Lading display the engine and chassis numbers, make, model, year and the size of the engine (11). Your shipment can also be examined by customs. Just like with your household goods, this process may take as long as one month. Also, once again if you’re found to be in violation of any regulations – you could face fines or disciplinary action (12).

What Paperwork Is Required For Your Vehicle?

J.E. Irausquin Blvd 59, Oranjestad-West, Aruba
J.E. Irausquin Blvd 59, Oranjestad-West, Aruba

Failure to provide the necessary paperwork, can delay the processing of your shipment – or cause it to be denied entry altogether. Therefore, it’s important that you have the correct documentation. According to knowledgeable international vehicle shipper A1 Auto Transport, Inc. – you’ll need to have your passport, driver’s license and proof of insurance. You’ll also need to show both the title (from the origin country) and a purchase invoice or receipt (13).

Registration from the origin country and insurance documents proving you’ve used the vehicle are also required. Finally, any paperwork that demonstrates you’ve owned the vehicle for the necessary six months to receive duty exemption, should also be provided (14). Typically, the purchase invoice is sufficient for this purpose, but you may choose to give customs additional paperwork – like your maintenance records or receipts.

Lastly, if you’ve never been to Aruba and want to experience this paradise island for a few days or weeks, we suggest you book a room at a resort on the beach and rent a car from a local car agency.

SOURCES:

(1)

https://www.royalresortscaribbean.com/top-ten-reasons-to-visit-aruba.php

(2)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(3)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(4)

Ibid.

(5)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(6)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(7)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(8)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(9)

Ibid.

(10)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(11)

Found on Atlas Int’l “Importing Personal Property Into Aruba” page.

(12)

http://www.iamovers.org/ResourcesPublications/CountryGuides.aspx?ItemNumber=3457

(13)

https://www.a1autotransport.com/ship-car-to-aruba/

(14)

https://www.a1autotransport.com/ship-car-to-aruba/


Advertisements

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailImporting Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the BahamasA Pristine Beach in the Bahamas.

Are you ready to make your move, to any of the over 700 islands, islets or cays in the Bahamas? If so, you’re no doubt excited about your upcoming change of scenery. You’ll enjoy picturesque beaches, amazing snorkeling in the clear waters and sunny skies. The speed of life is also much slower and you’ll be able to savor the fresh seafood that’s prominently featured in Bahamian cuisine (1).

However, before you can relax, unwind and take in all of the sights and sounds the Bahamas has to offer – you must do the unpleasant chore of planning and executing your move. International relocation can be a difficult task, and it’s easy to find yourself in over your head. This is why working with an international moving company that has a proven track record is so important.

Yet, even with their professional guidance, you’ll still be responsible for collecting all of the necessary paperwork and paying all of the fees. For this reason, you’ll need to be informed beforehand, about everything that the process entails.

What Duties Will You Pay?

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas
Staniel Cay, The Bahamas

Import duties to bring your shipment of household belongings into any foreign country, can range from free of charge to extremely burdensome. Unfortunately, this point isn’t clear, when it comes to your personal belongings and Bahamian customs.

Sources Disagree
One highly respected source claims that your used personal goods can be imported fully exempt from any duties. This is, provided that you only have reasonable amounts of each item in your shipment, and they are for your own personal use (not for commercial enterprise or to resell) (2).

However, a different source states just the opposite – asserting that you’ll be hit with an import duty of 35% of the CIF value. This is higher than just the value of your belongings, as it includes the cost of freight (or shipping) and insurance into the mix. A separate 7% stamp tax will be added to this as well, at least according to this particular source (3).

What Bahamian Customs Says
When sources disagree in this manner, it’s best to consult the customs website directly. Currently, the Bahamian customs website does have this 35% import duty listed. In addition, according to their site, your shipment will be charged value-added tax (VAT) of 7.5% – though whether this is assessed on all items isn’t clear (but it is likely). You’ll also be charged a separate environmental levy fee, however this is quite small. For example, on a $400 television this fee would be just $5. For a $10,000 vehicle, the environmental levy fee would still be a reasonable $200 (4).

Fee Calculation Examples
Where the process of calculating your charges gets more murky, is the status under which they are imported. For the examples given on the Bahamian customs pages, under both accompanied and unaccompanied baggage declaration forms (C17 or C18), you may be entitled to exempt $300 of a $400 television’s value for fee calculation. That means rather than paying the 35% import duty and 7.5% VAT on the full $400 value – you’d only be paying these charges on a value of $100 instead.

In contrast, examples on their website for courier/parcel list baggage declaration filing (C18A), do not show any such exemption. Therefore, duty and VAT are calculated using the full $400 value of the television.

Why Filing Status Matters
What’s the upshot of these different figures? When able to exempt most of the TV’s value under C17 or C18 filing – you’ll pay just $50.50 USD for duty, the environmental levy and VAT combined. When not able to exempt any of the TV’s value under C18A filing – you’ll pay the much higher $194.13 USD for all of these charges combined (5).

As you can see, filing status makes a profound difference on the total amount that you’ll pay. While a television was used in their examples, the differences in fee rates for different filing statuses, apply to many different items in your shipment.

Different Duty Rates For Specific Items
In addition to the varying total cost (dependent upon how you file and whether you can exempt most of the value of an item) – some specific items have different duty rates assigned to them. These changes were made after the recent implementation of VAT, and they can make the process of determining your import fees extremely complicated indeed.

For example, batteries are charged different rates, depending upon the exact type. Deep cycle batteries carry a 35% duty rate, whereas lead acid or automotive batteries are charged a 65% duty. The full list of items is extremely detailed, with barbeque sauce being charged just 5% duty but aluminum foil incurring a 30% duty. See here for a complete list of items, along with the rate they are charged.

Some Items Are Duty-Free
While duty exemption for your entire shipment isn’t offered, certain items are duty-free. The list is diverse, with items as different as computer printers and condensed milk both being exempt from import duty. See here for the full list of items.

Speak With Customs
With all of these intricacies in the duty and VAT calculation process, it’s vital that you learn beforehand the best filing choice for your shipment – and on what value these charges will be assessed. With such widely different final costs being possible, the best route is to speak to Bahamian customs for yourself. This will allow you to clear up any confusion, and determine how import duty, the environmental levy fee and VAT will be calculated on your shipment.

You will also need to work closely with a professional international moving company, who should help guide you through the process without any errors or missteps.

What Documents Will You Need?

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the BahamasExuma, The Bahamas

While our discussion of fee calculation was quite involved, fortunately documentation requirements to import your shipment are refreshingly simple. When bringing in your personal goods, you’ll need to provide customs with your passport and entry visa. A packing list and a separate inventory list are also required. Also needed is a letter giving your shipping company or other third-party agent, permission to work with customs to clear your shipment (called a Letter of Authorization) (6).

You may also need receipts, your Original Bill of Landing or Air Waybill and possibly your driver’s license. A Home Consumption Entry Form (C13 Form) and a Declaration of Value (C43 Form) may also be required (7). Contact customs to determine the exact paperwork you’ll need to bring your items into the country.

Duties On Your Vehicle

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas One of the Famous Swimming Pigs in Staniel Cay, The Bahamas

In most countries around the world, your vehicle will be handled differently when attempting to clear customs. The Bahamas is no exception, and the import duty rate is based on the vehicle’s value. For a vehicle worth $10,000 USD or under, you’ll pay a 45% import duty. For a vehicle between $10,000 and $20,000 USD – this rate goes up to 50%. Finally, if your vehicle is worth greater than $20,000 USD, then a 65% import duty will be assessed (8).

Bear in mind, that an additional 7% stamp tax on your vehicle is reported by reputable sources (9). However, with the implementation of VAT in the Bahamas, stamp tax may have been rescinded or reduced. Again, you’ll fare far better if you speak with both Bahamian customs and your shipping company – to learn the exact fees that will apply to your specific situation.

Documents For Your Vehicle

Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the BahamasNassau, The Bahamas

The paperwork required to import your vehicle into the Bahamas, includes a Certificate of Title and Registration from your country of origin (copies are acceptable). You’ll also need the purchase receipt or invoice, if you bought the vehicle not long ago (10).

According to experienced international vehicle shipping company A1 Auto Transport, Inc – you’ll also need your passport, customs declaration form, Original Bill of Lading and proof of valid insurance. Once your vehicle is cleared for entry by customs, you’re also required to get it inspected, registered and licensed by the Bahamian Road Traffic Department (11). Registration charges are based upon the vehicle’s weight, and you’ll pay anywhere from $160 to $760 USD (which is virtually the same in Bahamian dollars at the current exchange rate) (12).

In order to process your vehicle, the Bahamian Road Traffic Department will need to see your Road Traffic Vehicle Information form – along with your driver’s license from your origin country. Be aware that while your current license will authorize you to drive in the Bahamas for the first three months after moving, you’ll then need to obtain a Bahamian driver’s license to legally operate your motor vehicle (13).

Continue reading “Importing Your Household Belongings and Vehicle Into the Bahamas”

The Caribbean Shows the Way to a Renewable Future

The Caribbean Shows the Way to a Renewable Future
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Falling energy storage costs and sophisticated control systems are allowing renewables to be the backbone of some Caribbean nations—and providing lessons for mainlands.

GTM Creative Strategies

The Caribbean Shows the Way to a Renewable Future
Photo Credit: Wärtsilä Energy

In the span of just a few years, the focus at the annual Caribbean Electric Utility Services Corporation conference has shifted from issues around producing electricity from thermal capacity — usually oil — to what blend of renewable options constitutes the best path forward.

It is not just a theoretical question for the future, says Risto Paldanius, director of business development for Wärtsilä’s Energy Storage and Optimization business unit, a longtime attendee of the conference.

“It has clearly shifted, and now that the [levelized cost of energy, or LCOE] for renewables is on par or lower than any thermal generation, it’s all about solar and wind,” said Paldanius. “Then the questions become how to achieve the 100 percent renewable future everyone is talking about without causing disturbances in the grid and effectively managing solar ramp rates and generation optimization.”

They are not questions rooted only in environmental sustainability; they also address life-saving resiliency, as seen with storms that have battered communities and their power grids on many islands with devastating outcomes in the past two years, including in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas and Anguilla.

Read full article on greentechmedia.com


Related advertisements in the Caribbean

Carib Solar Tech is located in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands.
Drive Green VI is located in St. Thomas US Virgin Islands

15 Things You Need to Know Before You Go to the Caribbean

Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

The Caribbean region is a tropical paradise, but there are things you need to know before you embark on your next sunny holiday to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Palm trees, sandy beaches, turquoise waters, great music… you’ll find all that, and more, throughout the Caribbean. Most islands are easy to get to, and easy to vacation at, but even so, there are some things every traveler needs to know before going to the Caribbean. These helpful tips will help you decide when and where to go, what to expect when you’re there, and what you might like to do.

1 OF 15

Bring Your Passport… and U.S. Dollars

You’ll need a valid passport to enter any of the Caribbean islands—and to re-enter the United States—except for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Most non-U.S. islands also require a return or ongoing airline ticket. But don’t worry about the local currency. U.S. dollars—but not coins—are widely accepted everywhere. Bring small bills, though, as you’ll almost always get change in local money—including from an ATM. Actually, there are 13 different currencies in the Caribbean: The Bahamas, Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean islands, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago all have their own dollars; Cuba and the Dominican Republic have pesos; the French islands use euros; the Dutch islands have guilders, although Aruba uses florin; and then there’s the Haitian gourde.

02_ThingsToKnowBeforeYouGoCaribbean__EnglishIsWidelySpoken_shutterstock_1390883867
PHOTO: fokke baarssen/Shutterstock

2 OF 15

English Is Widely Spoken

English is commonly understood, spoken, and written throughout the Caribbean, although French is the preferred language on Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Barth, St. Martin, and Haiti. You’ll also hear a French-Creole patois spoken in Jamaica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Haiti. On the Dutch islands, you’ll hear both Dutch and English spoken, while Papiamento (which adds Spanish, Portuguese, French, African, and Arawakan elements to the Dutch/English mix) is the local patois in Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao. Spanish, of course, is the most prevalent language in the Dominican Republic and Cuba; but in Puerto Rico, a U.S. territory, Spanish and English are both official languages. All of that said, English-speakers should have no problem understanding or being understood in the Caribbean.

Read full article on www.fodors.com

Brand New Oasis class Cruise Ship Pier in Saint Kitts

Brand New Oasis class Cruise Ship Pier in Saint Kitts
Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail

Last week the Government of St. Kitts proudly announced the completion of the second pier in Basseterre, St. Kitts. After two years of continuous hard work and $48 million invested, the new cruise ship dock in port Zante is ready to receive its first passengers.

The new pier means Port Zante can now simultaneously host up to three of the world’s largest cruise ships. With a population of just 55,000 residents, our small yet ambitious Caribbean nation can now claim the status held by many of the region’s larger passenger cruise-ship destinations. It’s a necessary and logic expansion, considering that the islands have welcomed one million visitors during each of the past two cruise seasons. A milestone visitor volume for our small and still developing destination.

The Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) met with officials in St. Kitts and Nevis this week to discuss further development of the country’s cruise sector. They believe that we can soon become the Caribbean destination where cruise-goers choose to spend the most money. According to FCCA’s president, Michele Paige, her organization estimates that this could become a reality with the next three years.

Read Full Article on StKittsWatersports.com

Electric Cars Gaining Energy in the V.I.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailWhen St. Thomian Adrien Austin founded Drive Green VI six years ago, he dreamed of igniting a revolution in how Virgin Islanders drove – or what they drove – and in a bid to accelerate the process, he put electric cars at the forefront of his venture.

“Nowhere in the world does a car depreciate or break down as fast as in the Virgin Islands,” said Austin. “The goal was to bring in a few new kinds of technology, do my own R&D out of my own pocket, figure out what works, try and push this technology, see what the market is receptive to.”

Since then, electric cars, vehicles that run purely on batteries as opposed to internal combustion engines, have multiplied on the roads of St. Thomas as demand continues to rise, driven by expensive per-gallon cost of gas in the territory and an increasing awareness of climate change pushing residents to pursue a neutral carbon footprint. Austin’s company has so far sold roughly 50 electric cars, and he estimates St. Thomas has about 150 in total.

But it was a bumpy road to normalizing the use of electric cars on island. About five years ago, Austin brought down five Wheegos, another type of electric car, and one Nissan Leaf. He wanted to explore how these vehicles would fare on the island’s terrains, find out if they had enough power-to-weight ratio to maneuver the hilly, tortuous roads, and identify which cars performed better than others. Austin said.

Read full article on St. John Tradewinds