Should Sandals Follow Lok Jack’s Footsteps?

Submitted by Fatimah Mohammed

The billionaire businessman, Arthur Lok Jack, spoke on Wednesday night at the Sandals forum at UWI on the reasons why the proposed hotel resort pulled out of Tobago.

Lok Jack was visibly and audibly angry. He said his long-time friend, Sandals Chairman Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart disclosed to him the real reason for the withdrawal. Lok Jack said Stewart was really upset with the criticisms of Sandals by the UNC Opposition.

Both men believed that the UNC denied its supporters in Trinidad the opportunity to grow and supply agricultural products to Sandals in Tobago. Lok Jack said: “It’s the same people in the United National Congress (UNC), it’s the Indian constituencies of this country who are the farmers” who would respond to the “tremendous amount of demand” by Sandals.

Is this forecast really based on the facts of history?

Lok Jack is the CEO of the Associated Brands Group of Companies (ABIL) which is the leading manufacturer and distributor in the Caribbean of snack foods, chocolate confectionery, biscuits and breakfast cereals. Its brands include Charles Chocolates, Devon Biscuits, Sunshine Snacks, and Universal Foods Limited.

Has ABIL ever supported farmers in Trinidad and Tobago to cultivate and supply sugar for its snacks, corn for its flakes, coconut for its cream filling and shortcake, and rice for its rice crisps?

Has ABDIL ever supported farmers in the UNC “Indian constituencies”, or any farmer in Trinidad to raise cows to supply milk for its milk chocolates and nacho cheese?

If Lok Jack is so concerned about Indian farmers, why did he not step in to save the sugar- growing Caroni Ltd in 2003? His ABIL has been in existence since 1974.

Lok Jack is clearly playing politics.

If he is serious, he should set his own footprints for Sandals to follow.


  • Look,Jeck shut down Bwee and Manning agree and it cost the GOTT Treasury US$300 million.Manning replaced Bwee with CAL,same aeroplanes,same routes,same crews,same agents and same staff. As another prominent airline official pointed out it was the most expensive name change in the history of TNT.Black goat white monkey same animal.Now Jeck blaming the Calcutta crowd for sinking Sandals.The irony of it all is that CAL and its Air Jamaica cousin would have been one of the major beneficiaries of the Sandals Tobago project all things being equal and all questions being answered,all I’s dotted and all T’s crossed.Sandals need to be a better corporate citizen and stop playing the bandit buccaneer raiding the poor treasuries of the English speaking Caribbean with the massive tax concessions they demand rather than command.Brown sez Butch is not an easy guy.He doesn’t like government or taxpayers’ oversight.He doesn’t play by the golden rule.

    Liked by 2 people

  • This has to be one of the most ridiculous reasons for a company that had no investment with all benefits to submit was the reason for not accepting the golden opportunity to make money.T he issue of Sandals should take grounding on the PM of Antigua and Barbados and do not forget that the Jamaican Government gave Butch a shot at Air Jamaica and when he realized it was not going to provide what he wanted he simply handed back the keys. Sandals in Tobago, although could have provided an opportunity for the country, was handled from the start wrong it left the people of Tobago from the decision making which in my view is one of the main issues. Let’s ask Arthur the billionaire if he would invest without feasibility and I remind you he was involved in a hotel in Trinidad that went into receivership ask your self and what was his loss now the answer to the previous question would he invest the answer is a big NO. You are right he is still singing for his supper I do not recall but did he already get the highest honor of T and T? could be why he is pandering and his comments make the PM guilty of another untruth


  • WARU, Crazy & Unstable, Hogging the Blog

    Scum of a feather.


  • Sandals spoilt by the “desperado” politicians in Barbados & St Lucia.
    They can’t pull that shit in Antigua.

    Liked by 1 person

  • SirFuzzy (Former Sheep)

    Like Gen. Douglas MacArthur said after his exit from the Philippines; “I shall return”. I suspect the Sandal Group are muttering those words among themselves in their boardroom etc.
    When they do they wil be given more favourable concession etc. Its a waiting game, politicians often play the short term and smart business men play the medium/long term game. Time will show us how this plays out.


  • Sandals TCI is in the news again this time Butch Stewart accuses the TCI government of owing the government millions in overpaid taxes.


  • “They can’t pull that shit in Antigua.”


    Perhaps you meant “they can’t pull that shit in Antigua”………AGAIN.

    Butch Stewart has been exploiting Antigua and Antiguans for years.

    In 2009 the Baldwin Spencer led United Progressive Party (UPP) administration signed an agreement which granted Sandals Resorts Antigua a number of tax concessions……for a cumulative period of 35 years.

    Sandals was also granted exemptions from withholding taxes, from corporation taxes so that whatever they gross in the form of profit is net, while the government of Antigua & Barbuda does not receive anything.

    PM Browne described the agreement as “an illegal, awful agreement,” since, according to him, it enabled Sandals to collect an Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) from its customers and keep 65% of the yields.

    As at December 31, 2016 Sandals had withheld ABST EC$101,424,448.54 (US$37.5 million).

    “Browne pointed out that his government did not pursue Sandals for back taxes but, in the interest of peace and unity and to ensure a good investment culture in the country, wrote off $101 million in unpaid taxes.”

    “The PM also revealed that, not only had Sandals escaped over $100 million in unpaid taxes, they were also manipulating their obligation to pay social security contributions in respect of their employees by classifying certain workers as independent contractors so that they did not have to pay the payroll taxes.”

    “When the Social Security Department launched an audit of Sandals books, the owner of the resort group, Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart, threatened to close down the hotel.”

    “Once again, in the interest of peace, Browne said he asked the director of Social Security to call off the audit.”

    “Apparently, even this did not satisfy Stewart and in July 2017 Sandals closed down its Antigua property “for maintenance purposes” without forewarning to the government or the employees of Sandals and left guests who booked their vacations without a destination and with no meaningful explanation.”

    This closure prompted the government to introduce and pass in Parliament the Investment Authority Amendment Bill of 2017, which was designed to prevent a similar repeat occurrence, not just by Sandals but by any significant resort operator seeking to impact or manipulate the Antigua and Barbuda economy in like manner.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Donks Gripe and Josh

    What’s the status of Beaches Sandals in St. Peter there are no signs the promised construction has started. Since Mia and her followers took selfies with Butch walking on Heywood’s beach the project went off the front burner. Mia lambasted Butch and Maloney while in opposition in government she is rubbing shoulders with them snapping photos, shaking hands and singing their praises. We know politicos are hypocrites Watchmuh though has taken duplicity to new heights.


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