Not sorry for Cost-U-Less tax break
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler told a mass meeting in My Lords Hill, St. Michael last night, he had no apologies to make for giving “generous” tax concessions to foreign retail store Cost U Less, so it could operate in Barbados.
Sinckler, who is the incumbent MP for St. Michael North West, was responding to what he said were letters from his ministry being handed out by Opposition Leader Owen Arthur and his backers regarding the concessions.
“I have no apologies for it. They applied, they said they were bringing close to $100 in foreign exchange, creating over 100 jobs at a time when this economy needed it, and as far as I was concerned, I was not going to allow that opportunity to pass from the people of Barbados,” insisted Sinckler.
He said the application went through the system where the public officers in his ministry analysed it from “top to bottom” and sent it to the permanent secretary.
“He, (the permanent secretary) wrote me a note, saying minister, we have considered, we believe this is a good investment and the Government should support it. And I approved it. I have no apologies to make,” asserted the minister.
“They are people down there working,” added the St. Michael North West candidate. “The thing ain’t finished yet; the people have been hired, they are being trained and†I am †happy for them.”
However, the Democratic Labour Party hopeful suggested that he would like Cost U Less to be able to reduce their prices to Barbadians too.
“They (the Opposition) can hand out any letter. I can defend the policies of the Democratic Labour Party because when we do it, we do it in the name of the people of Barbados and in their interest,” noted Sinckler.
“I am not going to talk about what concessions Owen Arthur gave to Sandy Lane or to PriceSmart. He gave what he gave. And I gine tell yuh, he gave some very generous concession to the Sandy Lane people.
“In fact,” continued the cabinet minister, “the only thing he ain’t geh way, is he underwear. But I don’t hold that against him. I was not seen down there, going down there for lunch; driving through the back gate, coming through the side door. I have never even met the Cost U Less people.”
He told the meeting, he did not even know who they were.
“I don’t know who they are. They communicated with the Ministry of Finance through an accounting firm. I don’t know who the people are, nor do I really care, except that they are reputable business people and that they have a contribution to make to the development of the Barbados economy,” argued the DLP representative. (EJ)