Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that Jamaica and the wider region will continue to lobby against the Airport Passenger Duty (APD) imposed by the United Kingdom government, which he said, was unfair.
“One particular issue that we (Caribbean governments) have been struggling with has to do with the decision of the United Kingdom to impose this Airport Passenger Duty, something that we still maintain, and we say so respectfully is manifestly unjust to the countries of the Caribbean,” the Prime Minister stated.
He was giving the keynote address at the opening of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association’s premier marketing event, ‘Caribbean Marketplace,’ on Sunday (January 16), at the newly opened Montego Bay Conference Centre in Rose Hall, St. James.
The APD is a travel tax imposed by the UK government, which is applied according to the distance travelled by passengers to and from UK airports, with those who travel the farthest paying more.
The Caribbean has been placed in band C, now means passengers travelling to and from the Caribbean pay more than passengers travelling to and from the United States, which is in the cheaper band B.
The Prime Minister said that several representatives from the Caribbean have tried to impress upon the UK Government, that the APD, in its present form, is not fair, and needs to be reviewed.
Prime Minister Golding informed that the new Chairman of CARICOM, Prime Minister Tillman Thomas of Grenada, has been given a detailed update on the regional effort to deal with the APD, adding that he has no doubt that Prime Minister Thomas will continue to press the region’s case.
He noted however that direct lobbying was not the only option open to the region, explaining that he has done some consultation and has received “sound advice” that there are other avenues that the Caribbean may have to consider.
“I have consulted widely…there are other options that the Caribbean may have to consider, in tackling something that is not just unfair and unjust, but which we believe to be in conflict with established global rules of trade,” he stated.
Representatives from approximately 32 tourist destinations within the Caribbean along with buyers from major markets across the globe are attending Caribbean Marketplace, which concludes Tuesday, January 18.