Gov. John deJongh Jr. submitted legislation this week to prohibit barkers from working at beaches, unless they represent restaurants located on the beach. The bill would also restrict barkers from soliciting on some publicly owned property, including street corners in areas designated as historic districts, and in Cruz Bay on St. John, according to a statement from Government House.
The bill also requires all barkers to receive and wear permits from the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs that display their picture.
“Many local business owners have conveyed to me their opinions that barkers working downtown and on our beaches can be a nuisance to tourists, and have a negative impact on the business environment,” deJongh said in the statement. “The legislation I submitted addresses this concern, while preserving the rights of those who earn their living by soliciting for businesses.”
The Governor’s office drafted the legislation in collaboration with the Department of Licensing and Consumer Affairs, the Virgin Islands Police Department, the Justice Department and the Department of Tourism.
The proposal does not infringe upon a recently enacted law permitting and regulating on-street solicitations by timeshares, according to Government House.
Violators of the new law will face sanctions of up to a $500 fine and up to a year in jail, if it is enacted.