I go on a lot about ‘life in paradise’ and I suppose I sometimes sound ungrateful to be living in such a beautiful place. I admit I am grateful for my time on island and it is beautiful and has a lot to offer, but there are some things that make you want to tear your hair.
I sold my car (a long story for another time). I loved my little Isuzu, so I wanted it to go to a good home, therefore I asked top dollar, hoping someone would take good care of it. I had a few low ball offers and then I got a text from a man on another island wanting to buy my car. He asked me about shipping it and I told him; “I don’t know anything about shipping. I will sell you the car and you will need to take care of that on your own.”
After a few more texts and a phone conversation, this man, Alvin, told me he wanted the car and would fly over on Friday to see it. He asked me if I would take a ‘cashiers check’ and I told him no – cash only. So far he had violated three of the big No, No’s of Craig’s list – 1. Wanting to buy something sight unseen, 2. Wanting you to ship it out of the country, and 3. Wanting to pay with a cashier’s check. I was sure Alvin was into some sort of scam and dismissed him thinking he was not flying over to my island from his.
Well, Friday morning he calls me and says what flight he will be on and can I pick him up at the airport. He asks me to help him get around the island and do the necessary business to purchase and ship the car. I agreed to get him to DMV but that was it. I told him once the car was transferred to him, I would give him directions to the places he needed to be, but could not spend the rest of the day taking him around. He agreed.
We met and I offered him the opportunity to drive the car. He said, “No, you drive and I will be the passenger. That will be good enough for me.” We left and went directly to my bank to have the deal signed and notarized. At the bank Alvin handed over a wad of cash to me and we were off to DMV. Here’s where the fun begins.
Alvin is from Tortola in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), I’m on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands (USVI). The USVI views him as a foreigner and his insurance no good here. In an effort to protect us all and enforce the law that says you must have insurance the USVI demands proof of insurance before they will transfer a car into your name. They in effect are enforcing a law before you have broken it. In the event of transferring a car to a foreigner and shipping it off island they insist you turn in your license plates and scrape the inspection sticker off the window. Making it illegal to drive on the street. When I asked how he was supposed to get the car from the DMV to the dock for shipping, I was told that was not the problem of the DMV. We were also told we needed permission from the Office of the Lt. Governor to ship the car off island and then the DMV would give us a release form for the customs agent to allow the car to leave. Now all of this might not sound too unreasonable until you realize that the Office of the Lt. Governor is on one end of the island and DMV on the other. Also, each entity insisted they have the paper from the other first before they would issue their paperwork. You as the seller and buyer are caught in a Catch 22 of two governmental agencies who don’t like each other and tend not to agree. When I explained that they were asking me to do the impossible, they said basically ‘tough sh#t’.
Well, by the end of the day Friday Alvin and I sat down in a bar to figure the whole mess out. As it turned out we had found a way to get everything done. The car would be left at the dock with the harbor master where we would take the plates and sticker off, then we would do our best to get the title transferred into his name and then take that to the Lt Governor’s office and make one more trip back to the DMV for the final piece of paperwork issued after they saw the paperwork from the Lt. Governors office and finally all of this paperwork needed to clear customs at the dock where it could be turned over to the Harbor master to await the shipper’s pick up of the vehicle. The only problem was that it was 3 PM on a Friday and Alvin had to return to Tortola, and all of the aforementioned office were now closing.
I agreed to take care of this on Monday morning and took Alvin back to the airport. In the end the man who I thought might possibly have been trying to SCAM me, left for home while I waved from the seat of his car, with his wad of cash in my purse and all of the paperwork for said vehicle sitting on the seat next to me. Some turn of events! Eh?
Monday, I got everything done, without the help and cooperation of DMV and their staff (those guys are stinkers who just want to make it hard) and delivered the paperwork to the harbor master. I sent Alvin a text that said; ‘it’s done. Car at dock. Paperwork with harbor master awaiting your shippers pick up’. Alvin sent me a response that thanked me for my help.
The moral of this story. Not everything in paradise is easy and as it should be. Sometimes you have to say a little prayer and do your best to trust someone, while always trusting in God and his protection. In the end, I sold my care for the asking price and made a friend to boot.