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Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Island Life: Interesting Laws

My adventures living on a Caribbean island. Welcome to my monthly, or not so monthly adventures. We try not to commit too soon here on island :-)

Impression #5
Having only lived on St. Croix for two years now, I can't say that I am an expert on laws here; however, there have been 3 that I find, hmmm . . . interesting :-)

The first is rather odd, and my husband and I found out about it the hard way. We knew upon landing on island that we had to register our truck and the box trailer we shipped that had our belongings in it. We decided to forgo the "container" shipment method because the price was outrageous to ship from Arizona to St. Croix. Besides, having our box trailer with us makes for nice extra storage. 

Upon arrival, we went straight to the Motor Vehicle department and registered both  the truck and trailer. Then a year later my husband went back to register both again. Much to our surprise, we had an $80 penalty fee for having an unregistered trailer! How could this be? As it turns out, all trailers are registered only in November. So when we registered our trailer in August, we were supposed to come back in November and register it again. Who knew? We certainly didn't, but we do now!

Another law here on the island that I find interesting is about drinking and driving. Or rather I should say the absence of a law, specifically the Open Container Law. Yes, it is acceptable to have an open container with an alcoholic beverage in the car while driving. It is not, however, acceptable to be drunk and drive.  That law is firmly on the books.  What makes the absence of the Open Container law so nice, is that I can drive my husband and he can have his beer, and we don't have to be worried about breaking a law. It makes the Designated Driver role that much more important and since I am always Designated Driver, I like it :-)

The third law confuses me. When we arrived in August of 2010, smoking was allowed everywhere.  Since my husband smokes, this was actually nice because when we went out to dinner, he wouldn't have to leave me sitting alone at a table while he went outside to have a cigarette. Well, that has changed. The law against smoking in public places is firmly in place now.  I certainly understand why because as a nonsmoker, I don't want to breathe cigarette smoke either. Luckily, I have a very polite smoker in my husband :-)

What confuses me about this law is that there are hundreds of open air restaurants in the Virgin Islands. In their case, this just doesn't make any sense.  It is rather comical because for beach bars, there is literally a line drawn in the sand as to what is "outside." I understand there is some special fee an owner of one of these restaurants can pay to allow smoking, but that seems pretty silly to me. Then again, this is half of the fun of living in a new place, learning all the idiosyncrasies of it.

Lesson #5
Register the trailer in November, drive husband when he has a beer, and eat at open air restaurants. I can live with that :-)

True dat!


  1. November is coming down the road pretty quickly!

    I remember in Scottsdale or some other city in the Phoenix area that there was a debate on smoking and open air restaurants. It got pretty heated there for a while then they just decided to ban smoking at public places period.

    Strange law on the open beer, but nice too! :)

  2. In the photo I posted of Off The Wall restaurant and bar, there is no "inside." So smoking really is a non-issue, but even here they have a rule about how many feet from a public building a smoker is allowed to smoke.

    What I like about no Open Container law is that it is letting citizens be responsible for their own actions. We are adults, even though the drinking age is 18 down here. Let us police ourselves. Then again with 35mph roads everywhere, the number of car accidents that end in fatalities are minimal :-)

  3. Interesting laws. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. My pleasure. It's fun living in different places. Every place has its pros and cons and they are all different.

  4. Hmm...tropical island...I could live with those laws! BTW, why didn't the registration office tell you about the November rule instead of letting you find out the hard way?
    Do the citizens of the island have a say in new laws more than in bigger areas on the mainland?

    1. The registration office assumed we'd look at the date the registration expired. Since it is how they do things here, they wouldn't think to tell us it is different because they don't know it is :-) Actually, I don't know about how much citizen input is possible in laws here. Haven't investigated that quite yet :-)