St. Lucia’s ‘Christmas barrel concession’ started June 2; expires Jan 2021

(PRESS RELEASE) — Barrel Concessions are starting early as the Government of Saint Lucia delivered another promise in the Social Stabilization Plan.

At a sitting of the House of Assembly on Tuesday, June 2, 2020, the bill to amend the usual Christmas Barrel Concession was passed allowing Saint Lucians to enjoy duty-free barrels in June rather than the usual November start.

“The initial objective of the concession was to assist ‘needy and underprivileged’ families during the Christmas season. Traditionally, the concession period would begin in November of each year and continue until January 31st of the following year,” said Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Honourable Allen Chastanet at Parliament Tuesday. “Considering the current circumstances, the Government of Saint Lucia felt it imperative to move up the date of this relief measure. The barrel concession will provide much-needed relief to the poor, the vulnerable, and the thousands of Saint Lucians who have lost their jobs or source of income.”

The barrel concession program will commence on June 2, 2020 and will last for a period of eight months to expire on January 31, 2021. The usual stipulations that were used to govern this program are the limit of two barrels per household and the application of requisite taxes, duties, and charges on non-provisional items like electronics or commercial goods remain.

“Despite the challenges faced by many all over the world, there is still the interest by many in our own Diaspora and beyond to assist their family members and friends in this way,” said the prime minister as he concluded his contribution to the House Tuesday. “I am certain that our people will be better able to cope through this crisis if financial relief is provided to them in the form of concessions on barrels brought into the country during the stated period. This relief measure will allow thousands of Saint Lucians to obtain much-needed supplies from their relatives and friends abroad, particularly during this difficult time.”

In an address to the nation on April 8, 2020, the prime minister announced the Social Stabilization Plan, which highlighted a wide range of relief measures to help citizens cushion the social and economic shock brought on by the on-going pandemic.

The national feeding program, an Income Support Program, and tax credits for businesses have all been rolled out as the Government of Saint Lucia continues to chart its way on the road to recovery.