November 27, 2020

Bermuda, ‘capital of the Caribbean’?

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golbe-bermuda-aerial-585-mfkBy Owain Johnston-Barnes Royal Gazette

Members of the House of Lords discussed making Bermuda the “capital of the Caribbean” to cut the cost of travel between the UK and the islands to our south.

The conversation took place as the Lords discussed air passenger duty on Monday, a tax on travel which varies based on the destination.

Bermuda and the United States fall into ‘Band B’ because their capitals are within 4,000 miles of London. Islands in the Caribbean fall into ‘Band C’ and are subject to higher duty rates.

President of the Caribbean Council, Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, suggested that Bermuda could be designated the capital of the Caribbean — for the purposes of the duty only.

“There is no reason why that cannot be done,” he said. “It can be done technically and it has been suggested to the Government.

“The cost to the Government would be just over £18 million out of a total projected revenue of £3 billion. The benefit to the Caribbean and the resulting benefit to the United Kingdom Government would be enormous.”

Lord Newby responded: “My experience of the Caribbean does not fill me with hope that, when push comes to shove, there would be much agreement to designate anywhere as its capital.

“I am not sure whether you can designate somewhere as a capital for one purpose but not a capital for every other purpose.

“However, it is a new suggestion; I will certainly take it back and we will see whether it deals with the problem.”

He added that the issue could be discussed further at a coming UK-Caribbean Forum.

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