Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham yesterday signed an exigency order (49KB PDF) that will allow residents, businesses and hotel owners in Cat Island and Acklins who have been hard hit by Hurricane Irene to bring in certain goods duty free for up to six months.
Residents on Long Cay, Mayaguana, Rum Cay, San Salvador, Inagua and Ragged Island will also benefit from the order.
The tax exemption effort, which begins today, will likely impact hundreds of residents and businesses on those islands.
In order for the residents to qualify for the exemption, the minister of finance has to be satisfied that the goods are intended for the relief of residents in the islands mentioned who suffered hardship or loss as a result of Hurricane Irene, the statement said.
Duty free goods include building materials, electrical fixtures and materials, plumbing fixtures and materials, household furniture, and furnishing and appliances.
Also duty free are motor vehicles, motor cycles, and golf carts.
Claims or applications for the duty exemption of those products and goods must be certified by the director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
Those in the farming industry whose crops or machinery were damaged can apply to bring in duty free items including supplies for reconstruction and repair to greenhouses, including plant sleeves, timers, plant pots and soil-less growth; supplies for the reconstruction and repair to poultry houses; supplies for the reconstruction and repair of irrigation systems; nursery stock for the re-establishment of fruit orchards; and items required for fencing.
Those in the fishing industry can apply to bring in goods including galvanized sheeting and other materials used in the construction of fishing habitats; fishing boats and fishing gear and apparatus.
The notice added that an individual located anywhere in The Bahamas who suffered hardship or loss to property as a result of Hurricane Irene may also apply for duty relief and will be certified by the appropriate official.
“Where any abuse or misuse of goods imported under this declaration is observed, the goods may be seized and disposed of in accordance with Section 83 of the Customs Management Act,” the notice added.
The Nassau Guardian
View the EXIGENCY ORDER (49KB PDF)