Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells said the government will not move forward with a proposed 10 percent increase in the tariff for mailboat services.
The government tabled the new tariff last month. The increase was passed on to consumers who send and receive items on the mailboats, particularly Family Island residents.
“We did lay those new tariffs on the floor of the House,” Wells said in the House on Wednesday night.
“There was a meeting that we had with the mailboat operators. Mr. Speaker, it was the intent of the government of The Bahamas to move forward with new contracts for the mailboat services. One of the requirements for the mailboat operators was that they wanted a 20 percent increase in the existing tariff.
“They wanted that either by way of us increasing the government subsidies they received, or by increasing the tariff.”
Wells said the government decided to increase the tariff by 10 percent.
“Subsequent to that, both the prime minister and the Cabinet of The Bahamas [have] decided that we are not going to move, that we would hold that tariff rate, because really, Mr. Speaker, in 2005 there was a very comprehensive study done of the mailboat service as to what needed to take place in the industry.
“That report itself needs to be updated before the government moves in any particular direction, and so the government has decided to look at how to update that, and once that is updated, we will be getting back to the mailboat operators with the direction the government is going to move. But as it stands now, the status quo with the mailboat situation remains.
“The tariff itself is not going to be enforced.”
Wells made the intervention after Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis tabled a resolution seeking to annul the tariff increase.
Following Wells’ intervention, Davis withdrew the resolution.