The Adrian Loveridge Column – Local Media to Blame

Writing a weekly column on a single subject (tourism) can certainly be challenging at times, especially when you tread that fine line, trying to extract meaningful answers to questions that some of us think should be a matter of public record, but that our politicians and policy makers feel should remain a dark secret.

You stand an enormous risk of upsetting some individuals who somehow often hold the power to negatively affect your well being, or who can influence decision makers that ensure you are held back or stifled in business dealings.

It comes with the territory and if you are going to be labelled as outspoken or controversial by a few, it’s something you have to get used to. Conversely, if our guardians of democracy were more open or candid, would it not benefit the country at large?

Just occasionally questions raised eventually get some attention, even if its years later.

A classic example is the recent disclosure questioning the accountability and payment of VAT (value added tax) by one of our tourism operators.

I raised this very point in the Tourism MATTERS column back on 16th December 2013, after a personal stay at one of the properties involved.

 

 

Fast forward almost six years and only after attention grabbing bold headlines detailing a class action suit, quoting the words ‘alleged tax fraud’ being initiated in the United States and disseminated globally is the matter finally receiving interest at the highest level?

Of course- in the case of Barbados- in the intervening period there has been a dramatic change of Government, but surely with the amount of potential lost taxes involved which could amount in this solitary location to at least BDS$20 million annually – any administration in a self -declared economically beleaguered state would surely want to rapidly deal with the problem and be seen to be doing so?

What puzzles many of us is that we as hoteliers in Barbados are required to submit VAT returns on a frequent and timely basis and if submissions are late, severe penalties with fines and interest are applied and enforced.

So how would it be possible to avoid this legal obligation for so many years without full Government knowledge and possible complicity?

Returning to the start of this column, are ‘we’ wrong to raise these questions and reasonably expect credible answers?

Unless these areas of concern are addressed in an absolutely transparent manner, there will forever remain the belief there is one law applied to some and a different one to others.

22 comments

  • The second and third paragraphs are true from my personal experiences here in this island.

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  • Having now read the rest of the article, the sentiments describe therein describe a country where inertia is rife and smugness in maintaining the status quo is the order of the day. Surely ,these are signs of a country having serious problems.

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  • Here is a clip of the exchange Adrian had with Butch Stewart at the BCCI meeting in 2014.

    [audio src="https://barbadosunderground.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/butch-stewart-chamber_.mp3" /]

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  • PM makes statement on LIAT.

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  • Gaston Browne outs PM now she decides to speak
    What thing doah
    Has she got no shame

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  • If LIAT is a listed company, why the negotiations over the sale of Barbados’ 49 per cent share holding? Why doesn’t the government auction the sale to international bidders in order to get aa better return?

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  • Personnally i am glad to see Liat taken off the backs of the taxpayers
    Next Hilton another blood sucker needs to go

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  • Is the LIAT deal closed?

    Is this the deal White Oak will negotiate on behalf of the government?

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  • David BU

    According to what Mottley said in her ministerial statement, the LIAT deal seems not to be “closed” as yet. Negotiations are still ongoing.

    Antigua & Barbuda’s PM Browne made an offer and Mottley seems to be in the process of accepting. I agree with her wholeheartedly that Barbados needs to take a step backward and let the head of another shareholder island take the responsibility in restructuring LIAT the way they see fit.

    Browne is more concerned with maintaining the 700 LIAT jobs in Antigua and it’s about time Barbadian taxpayers are removed from the burden of subsidizing those jobs.

    What Mottley should have done was to “sell” the entire 49.4% shareholdings to Antigua and adopt a position similar to that taken by St. Lucia’s PM Chastanet……..

    ……….. unless there’s a fundamental change to the operating structure of the LIAT, Barbados would not be investing financially in the airline.

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  • Strangely enough Mia made mention of another airline which might be of interest by which govt would invest
    Lawd have merci

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  • Its official, Barbados is getting out of the LIAT business, good luck to Gaston Brown but unless he has an ace up his sleeve I am not sure Antigua can support LIAT on its own.

    Wuhloss! The team negotiating the sale is being led by Dale Marshall

    https://barbadostoday.bb/2019/06/05/for-sale-3/

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  • @Artax

    Agree with the BERT arrangement these kinds of decisions are being made for the government.

    @Sargeant

    You need to read between the lines, Marshall will not be negotiating anything. Barbados wants to exit the arrangement as hinted in this comment because of the big picture state of the economy cum IMF technical advice.

    We have to give credit to Mottley for trying to tackle difficult problems.

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  • David BU

    If you listened to Mottley’s ministerial statement, she seems to be saying, since Gaston Browne has rejected every proposal offered for the restructuring of LIAT, even the latest study undertaken by the Caribbean Development Bank…….. give Browne Barbados’ shares in the airline and let him do whatever pleases him.

    However, it is interesting to note that, on May 2, 2019, after chief of staff in the Antigua and Barbuda government, Lionel Hurst, told the St Kitts radio station WINNFM Branson had proposed injecting several million dollars to “wet lease several aircraft” and to “very likely” fly from Fort Lauderdale Int’l to various Caribbean destinations and “enlarge LIAT,”…………

    …………. on May 7, 2019, SVG’s PM Gonsalves told WE FM he knew nothing about Branson having any interest in LIAT.

    “As the chairman of the shareholders, I have not been made aware of that, nobody has contacted me about that. Whether Branson said so in an off-hand way or in a serious manner, I don’t know. I don’t usually jump like that when rich people make a suggestion until I see something really meaningful,” he said.

    “You may well have to expand to make some more money. And if you are expanding to make more money, you might need to find a partner in the jet service area, but I’m not giving legs to what you and I have read about what the minister from Antigua said with relation to Sir Richard Branson, because I don’t know anything official.”

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  • @Artax

    Barbados has been burdened with the majority equity because of our commitment LIAT servicing the intransit business from the other airlines and the icing argument as been we are committed to the integration movement. Given the dictatorial approach by successive Antigua governments because of their emotional attachment to LIAT – they run it like a department of government, it makes sense for Barbados to look at alternatives.

    The blogmaster has not forgotten when LIAT wanted to sell the Dash plans for scrap value the records were destroyed because of poor management practices. Also BU has posted many press releases from the pilots association admonishing government for many reasons over the years.

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  • David

    We have to give credit to Mottley for trying to tackle difficult problems.

    Really

    It does not take IMF officials or miilion dollar advisors to say that if an entity /asset is not producing at its full value or potential sufficient and enough not to be relying on additional financial sources to take care of itself it should be disposed of as quickly as possible
    Such is the case with the oil terminal
    However until some foreign economist or million dollar advisor tells barbados to do so no one wants to hear or face the realities

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  • A pity you government of 10 years didn’t agree.

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  • “Given the dictatorial approach by successive Antigua governments because of their emotional attachment to LIAT – they run it like a department of government, it makes sense for Barbados to look at alternatives.”

    David BU

    If the comment in “Barbados Today’s” article re: “But the announcement puts the Mottley administration’s for regional aviation into sharp focus, amid speculation it may back the startup of a rival carrier involving Barbadian investors and a multilateral lender, Barbados TODAY has learned,” is true……

    ……. I do not have any problem if this BLP administration looks at alternative investments in another airline.

    LIAT has been the sole provider of inter-regional travel services for several years. Therefore, we cannot conclude competition is mainly responsible for the airline’s losses each financial year.

    Similarly to SLU’s PM Chastanet, I believe the time has come for competition to enter the market.

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  • @Artax

    Bear in a few startup airlines have failed for many reasons. The lack of a common airspace and standard fees must be on the list .

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  • It is easy for some governments to choke the success of any regional airline because of parochial interest.

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  • Adrian, David – here is my article on the same important issue of Tax Transparency ‘THe Show Tell Hotel’ published in yesterday’s Express Business –
    https://afraraymond.net/2019/06/05/property-matters-the-show-tell-hotel/

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  • Thank you Afra,

    digesting contents.

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  • In a related matter as it concerns regional integration and what is required- there is the response from Prime Minister Gaston Browne has responded to Barbados reluctance to support the setting up of a UWI campus in Antigua. How is Antigua able to commit to locating a university there but have to beg people to finance LIAT?

    Why are we unable to get existing regional institutions to work but we want to establish more.

    Note Prime Minister Mottley has expressed concerns about individual islands wooing investors by offering unrealistic incentives. Where do we want to go as a region?

    We could go on to include the benefit of a ONE foreign policy.

    It is all connected!

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