WASHINGTON, D.C. — Freshman Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett has introduced three pieces of legislation aimed at bettering the territory’s economy through tourism, rum cover over revenues and incentivizing local jewelry and watch makers.
Made known through a press release issued on Tuesday, Plaskett introduced House of Representatives (H.R.) bill 2116, which seeks to establish a special visa waiver program for the Virgin Islands, and “would allow the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to approve visa-less entry into the Virgin Islands for residents of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and other countries that are not current participants in the Visa Waiver Program.”
According to Plaskett, if the bill is passed, “the Virgin Islands Special Visa Waiver Program would allow the residents of these countries visa-less entry into the USVI to participate in seasonal sporting events and other permissible activities, such as medical purposes.”
Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett
The delegate also introduced H.R. 2117, aimed at amending the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to make permanent the rum cover over revenue to the U.S. Virgin Islands by repealing the cap. Plaskett said the repeal would ensure that “all excise on rum produced in the Virgin Islands and sold in the United States is returned to the territory providing a reliable and consistent funding source to the islands treasury.”
Lastly, the congresswoman proposed H.R. 2118, a bill directed at extending the Production Incentive Program (PIC) for insular producers of watches and jewelry for an additional ten years, through 2027. The delegate revealed that the 30-year-old program aimed at protecting the highly import sensitive U.S. insular watch industry has not been reauthorized since 2004 and will expire this year if action is not taken.
“The introduction of these new bills is part of our legislative strategy toward improving the economy of the U.S. Virgin Islands. These bills, along with several others to come, will—aside from improving economic development—address transportation and infrastructure, as well as greater access to education and healthcare for Virgin Islands residents,” Plaskett said.
“Creating a special visa waiver program for the Virgin Islands will open up more opportunities for us to host more participants in regional sporting activities like the “Rolex Regatta,” and the St. Croix International Triathlon, as well as opportunities to open our medical facilities to patients in the Eastern Caribbean Region.” All three of these bills, when passed, will protect jobs and the livelihood of our small business owners and increase the amount of revenue generated in the territory,” she added.
I wear many hats, I suppose, but the one which fits me best would be journalism, second to that would be radio personality, thirdly singer/songwriter and down the line. I've been the Editor-In-Chief at my videogames website, Gamesthirst, for over 5 years, writing over 7,000 articles and more than 2 million words.
I'm also very passionate about where I live, the United States Virgin Islands, and I'm intent on making it a better place by being resourceful and keeping our leaders honest. VI Consortium was birthed out of said desire, hopefully my efforts bear fruit. Reach me at email@example.com.