Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands in Battle Over Captain Morgan

Caribbean rum war heads to Washington
By Jane Yager,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 17, 2010 11:54 AM CDT
In this photograph taken by AP Images for Captain Morgan, Captain Morgan and the Morganettes participate in the Super Bowl festivities of South Beach in Miami Beach, Florida, Friday, Feb. 6, 2010.   (Jack Dempsey/AP Images for Captain Morgan)

(Newser) – A battle over rum has two US territories up in arms, with Puerto Rico accusing the Virgin Islands of a raid worthy of Captain Morgan himself. Diageo, the maker of Captain Morgan rum, is moving production from Puerto Rico to the US Virgin Islands, which offered the company $2.7 billion in incentives over 30 years to make the move. The money comes from a refund of rum import taxes collected in the US; outraged Puerto Rico is rallying friends in Congress against the deal.

Since Puerto Rico also gets a share of the half-billion rum-tax dollars the US gives back annually, it stands lose to billions of dollars in revenue over those 30 years. Besides, Puerto Rico says it's wrong for the Virgin Islands "to give so much money away to a foreign-owned company, instead of using it for their own vulnerable people." The Virgin Islands says the fight is none of Congress's business: "They would not get involved if a company decided to move from New York to Michigan," a Virgin Islands delegate tells NPR.

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