Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. (FP)

Government will move this week to reduce travel taxes, says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

However, she added that with regard to airlines, Barbados has an open skies approach, as far as possible, with the market determining the capacity and the ratio.

Ms. Mottley made the comments on Tuesday while participating in CARICOM IMPACS’ five-day Virtual Security Conference, under the theme: Securing Our Community Within the Era of COVID-19 and Beyond.

The Prime Minister said officials were continuously looking for a credible rapid PCR gold standard test that would allow for the better processing of persons through the airport and seaport.

“At the same time, we are in the midst of preparing new protocols for cruise going forward, because we recognise that to the extent that we can have some limited cruising from this winter onwards, we need to be able to have strong and residual protocols.

“But it is going to require cooperation between those home ports and those transit ports that will be facilitating the cruise and that is because, effectively, unless we create a bubble, you cannot guarantee that persons disembarking from ships are moving into a safe environment to re-embark to go to the next country. And it therefore means that if we do want to have a safe and credible cruising environment, we are going to have to use CARPHA and the CARICOM Secretariat and IMPACS as the basis, and to a lesser extent CDEMA, who does the logistical supplies and delivery for us.  We are going to have to use them more than ever,” she stated.

During the discussion, which featured Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. Ralph Gonsalves; Prime Minister of Grenada, Dr. Keith Mitchell; and Secretary General of CARICOM, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, Ms. Mottley was asked about the 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp.

She said there was a great response to the initiative which could also benefit the region. “If people come here within the bubble, I have no doubt that they are going to want to go to St. George’s in Grenada or the Grenadines or Castries, or whatever, because why would I come to the Caribbean and not fully experience the Caribbean. So, we have understood this as something that will add value to everyone in the region.

“It starts officially from the 1st of August but the forms are out there. We have been having persons coming from both sides of the Atlantic asking questions,” she explained.

During the 90-minute discussion, the three Prime Ministers praised the work of regional institutions such as IMPACS, CARPHA, the CARICOM Secretariat, CDEMA, and RSS.  Ms. Mottley said the funding necessities of those entities could not be ignored.

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