The government has announced that Sandals Grande Antigua Resort is now paying the full Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST).
This is as a result of a settlement agreement between the Government and the Jamaican funded chain.
In 2016, Antigua and Barbuda was placed in the regional spotlight after a public row erupted between the government and the popular hotel brand over a disagreement concerning tax payments. The agreement which was reportedly signed with the previous administration saw the operators of the Sandals Grande Antigua collecting 65% ABST tax concessions.
The government told the resort that the concessions would be retracted which caused a war of words between the resort and Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
However according to Minister of Public Utilities, Civil Aviation & Transportation and chairman of the sub-committee which led negotiations on the matter Sir Robin Yearwood, the operators resumed tax payment on January 1st.
“He agreed to pay now from January 1 and its no fault of his because the former government is so corrupt that they want to give away everything. We finished our negotiations and I think it’s this week we’re supposed to pick up the January cheque,” he noted.
Minister Yearwood estimated that during the time that the resort did not pay the ABST, the resort would have benefited in excess of 100 million dollars at the expense of the treasury.
“Mr. Speaker, we negotiated and I am happy tonight because it has exonerated my Prime Minister but I just want to tell you Antiguans and Barbudans for the three or four years that they got just the ABST, ti was over 100 million EC dollars and if you pick up the books for Customs, that’s a different set,” the Minister revealed.