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Persons arriving in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the first set of flights after international travel resumes on Saturday would be exempt from paying the US$20 for a COVID-19 test thereafter.

However, when that exemption ends, all persons arriving in the country will be charged US$20 or US$40 for a test, even if one is not administered.

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, speaking on radio on Wednesday, said that arriving passengers can avoid a PCR test for COVID-19 if they present evidence of a negative test done within three days of arrival in the country.

Otherwise, CARICOM passport holders, including Vincentians, will have to pay US$20 for a PCR test, while non-CARICOM passport holders will be billed at US$40.

“Because, the test is a costly matter. We have ordered test kits and all the various requisites to do the test and it costs a lot of money,” Gonsalves said.

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However, there is a catch. Gonsalves said his government has communicated its decision to the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the fees for the test will be collected as part of the price for the ticket.

Gonsalves, who is a lawyer, noted that some persons might ask why they are paying for the test as part of the ticket even if they take the PCR test at their place of departure.

“I ask you the question. Tell me which way you can pay it? If I wait here for you to pay it, to set up a system to collect the $20 from you when you arrive, it’s going to prolong the clearing time and make life more difficult for you,” he said.

“So we have no option but to put it on the ticket. So whether you pay for it up there already by taking one, or down here you will still — most people wouldn’t worry about the US$20 because they would want to move fairly speedily.

“Because when you do it, you test, you will have your certificate that you did your test. I am giving you a lot of details so that I don’t want to hear persons say they didn’t know,” he said.

Gonsalves noted that while everyone would pay for the PCR test, even if one is not administered to them, his government has reduced by US$20 the tax that persons pay on departure from the country.

“But, bear in mind, everybody would have had a drop of US$20 on the departure tax so that for the Vincentians, in doing the PRC, you basically not paying anything more than you used to pay before, though you have to take the COVID test,” the prime minister said.

7 replies on “SVG to charge visitors for COVID-19 test, even if none is given”

  1. “…all persons arriving in the country will be charged US $20 or US $40 for a test, even if one is not administered”. The old fashion word for such deceitful action is “extortion”!

    Would such an action on the Government’s part be legal? How can one charge another for a service that one have not provided? Only henchmen and crooks are found to do such things! The Mafia, and or the neighbourhood gang or people of questionable character would do such a thing.

    On top of other things, are we now to become a Mafia state as well?

  2. Here we go again to come or not to come can anyone say how much is it to fly from new york to Miami to SVG ?. It just seems like a no win situation for travelers I am staying put maybe next year maybe.

  3. Concerned Citizen says:

    This is as clear as mud, will the test be administered on arrival at AIA or within three days of arrival at AIA? It would appear that what is meant is that the test would need to be taken within 3 days prior to arrival at AIA or a test on arrival or a combination of both for those testing in their departure countries. Please could someone decipher for me, I am long in the tooth and the english language can sometimes be imprecise at the best of times.

  4. Calliaquaman says:

    The only Government to imposed a Covid-19 Tax

    The man with left side brain ( I Reduced the Departure Tax and created a New Tax scheme, The new Name is call Covid – 19 Tax .

    Only for vistors and SVG Native will have to play this tax

    No matter your status is once pay the money it is non refundable .

    Hiding behind a test tube to collect money, this foolish talk of short lne and long line have to do with testing which is the right of government to do for safety of it citizens. Standing in line becomes the norm today so stop your foolishness and try again.

    Higher he goes the dumbness exposed.

    My two cents

  5. I don’t think these travelers are visitors. They have to be returning Vincentians who would not be taking a flight out of SVG for some time. It make no sense travelling these days because when you return to North America you will be going through a ringer.

  6. The president of Tanzania carried out a mock test of giving human names to a goat, sheep, pawpaw and car oil; and sent it off to the laboratory for Covid19 testing. They didn’t tell the lab technicians where the samples came from. The results for the pawpaw, jack-fruit and goat came back positive.

    This shows you the scam that it is, to further political agendas and taxation of the people. Or what was correctly posited by James H, “extortion”. A classic case of, “don’t let a good crisis go to waste”.

    Tanzanian president mentioning the test:

  7. This is extortion to charge someone for a service he or she never received. This should not be challenged and taken to the highest court as a matter of principle. This cannot be procedurally correct. Where is the natural justice and procedural fairness? There is none in.the whole exercise. If the price of the test is included in the ticket, it should then be refunded upon presentation of a valid cerificate from a test conducted at the port of origin. Only then will It be seen as correct justice.

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