Tourist-Friendly Marriage Bill Up For Debate

Melissa Edwards, Senior Journalist | December 05, 2017 5:03 am MST
Photo Credit: Sherine Williams/BVI Platinum News
A proposed bill, seen as good for business in the tourism sector, will be up for discussion among legislators when the House of Assembly sitting continues on Thursday, December 7.

Premier and Minister with responsibility for Tourism, Hon. Dr. D. Orlando Smith will pilot the amended bill, the Marriage (Amendment) Act, 2017, which has been long in waiting.

The move to amend the law is to enable couples to receive a marriage license the same day, as opposed to what applies now, where a marriage license takes a working day to process.

It will also allow for visitors to get married aboard cruise ships docked in the Territorial waters of the BVI.

Accordingly, the bill seeks to amend section 36 of the principal Act, by reducing the residence requirement for marriages from one day to same day, in respect of special marriage license.

This proposed change comes five years after government amended the law to allow persons to get married 24 hours after arriving in the BVI, as opposed to waiting three days.

The Bill also makes provision for the opening hours of the office of the Registrar General.

In 2014, the government had promised that the Marriage Act will be updated with modern laws to improve the overall efficiency in the registration and celebration of marriages in the Territory.

In particular, the amendment is geared to provide the right to the Registrar or any marriage officer to conduct marriages onboard a ship within the territorial waters of the Virgin Islands. Government indicated that this change will facilitate new and additional services to the cruise tourism sector, and facilitate greater diversification of the tourist product, by further making the Territory more competitive, and promoting it as a prime wedding destination.

Meanwhile, at Thursday’s sitting, the Limited Partnership Act, 2017 will also be up for debate.
-----
Copyright 2017 by Virgin Islands Platinum News. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.