Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands Kenneth Mapp disclosed that a Bill which – among other things – provides a permanent solution to the BVI bands situation, which is an issue affecting local bands from taking paid private performance opportunities in the USVI is before the Congress.
The USVI Governor was in the Territory for a one-day visit on 16 October and during that time had a press conference during which he was asked whether a permanent fix for this matter which was previously soothed with temporary accommodations was found.
The USVI Governor disclosed that the Immigration Bill which was before the Congress contained a remedy for the problem. He said: “In the Immigration Bill that is before the Congress we call it the day waiver legislation that USVI has been proposing and it pretty much provides not only for the bands in the BVI being able to come down.”
Mr. Mapp stated: “The issue was the ability to earn, so the bands came and they weren’t going to earn money; it would be an easier opportunity to come into the USVI and perform. If the bands came and were playing at an event then that was considered coming to work and so there were greater restrictions.”
“Under the day waiver program that we have included in the Immigration…there are a number of issues in that Bill. We have…provided for the day waiver program not only for the BVI and the USVI but also the Caribbean islands in the area because just like bands in the USVI can come to the BVI and relatively perform and earn we want to be able to have more free flow of traffic and relationship. We are 15 minutes apart and we seem to have the support that we are going to be able to achieve that change in the statute that that will be able to work with Customs and Border Patrol,” Mapp announced.
In 2015 Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn on 20 October met with USVI Lieutenant Governor, Osbert Potter regarding this musician issue. Hon. Walwyn disclosed that he travelled to the USVI in the company of other Ministry of Education and Culture officials to advance discussions regarding the travel restrictions local artistes face when seeking opportunities and cultural exchanges in the neighbouring Territory.
At that time Hon. Walwyn explained that the matter was complex, nonetheless he stated that he promised that the matter was going to be addressed at the congressional level.