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post #5 of Old 11-05-2003 Thread Starter
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One boat was pleasure, the PR boat where all charges were dropped. The Berry kids is a more convoluted tome. The BVI wasn''t getting enough fish from their own line fishermen. The Berrys were selling the fish at West End Tortola to BVI "officials", which the government admitted. A dual-citizen named Smith set up the fishing deal. Their license had expired and he was to renew their license with the BVI government. It was in "process" but hadn''t been completed when they were arrested (after fishing there legally for years). The point is, the only reason for the arrest was to make a point, and poorly so. They believed they had a license, and were told so, but it hadn''t quite been finished "processing" yet. The third boat was a charter marlin boat fishing a tournament 20 some miles offshore where several other boats were also fishing. They had the mistaken belief that if they let those bozos onto their boat, in very rough seas, everything would be cleared up. Instead, boat seized, $500,000 in fines pending (each, for owner Scott Niddrie and captain Jimmy Estraca), case pending, etc. Boat has been released on $15,000.00 cash bond. This was during the June Moon Marlin tournament out of St. Thomas. The tournaments have ALWAYS fished BVI/USVI waters. This whole thing came about without any warning AND without the ability to get a license if you wanted one. It is a convoluted attempt to force all pelagic fishing charter boats to "come to the BVI" and base out of there. The BVI government has stated as much. They''ve already ripped 80% of the sailing charter fleet out of the USVI - not as much their fault as the fault of the USVI government. Their is a wahoo fishing tournament coming up this weekend. At the friday night skipper''s meeting, EVERYONE will be admonished NOT to cross into BVI waters AND that the tournament WILL NOT INCLUDE BVI waters. Hence, any BVI boats thinking they can fish BVI waters and enter the tournament are dead wrong. Look, I wouldn''t be so up in arms about this if it wasn''t for the fact that they''re blatantly screwing people to steal business away from U.S. interests. If they HAVE a damn fishing license, or HAD one, please ''splane how to get it. Prior to these seizures, nobody could tell you anything. Does the U.S. do the same to them? No. They come in to Red Hook by the boatload almost daily on private boats so they can go to KMart, Plaza Extra (and now - ready for this? - Home Depot) with impunity and without clearing customs. They set their fishpots in U.S. waters with impunity and nobody bothers them. Coast Guard doesn''t care. "Homeland security" doesn''t seem to care. The only thing they''ll eventually understand is money - which, by the way, in the BVI, is the U.S. dollar, NOT the pound sterling. Think that through. The buck is "their" declared currency. We have to pay taxes to support the treasury dept. They simply rely on our treasury to guarantee their economy, with no expense of bureacracy or administration involved. A free ride on the U.S. dollar. KW
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