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Frustrated with Gov’t

hotelier still waiting on money from gov’t after two years to help pay his debt

by Shawn Cumberbatch

An outspoken local small hotelier whose business is owed tens of thousands of dollars by Government has had enough.

Operator of Peach and Quiet (Barbados) Limited, Adrian Loveridge, complained today that while by this time next week his business was expected to pay the state more than $37,000 in corporation taxes due for the last financial year, his company was being buried while waiting for government to refund it close to $30,000 in Valued Added Tax refunds — two year’s worth.

And Loveridge, who voiced disappointment that letters he wrote to “the ministers of the various Government bodies involved” had gone unanswered up to today, said unless he received the monies owed between now and next Friday, he would be forced to “go into overdraft and pay commercial bank interest to pay the corporate taxes due”, or pay the fine and interest due if he failed to pay the corporation tax due.

“If we do not pay (the corporation tax) on time, then there will be an immediate fine of five per cent of the amount due, which equates to $1,876.33 plus interest accrued of one per cent per month or 18 per cent annually, which is three times the latest rate of Government borrowings to sustain a bloated public service and pay for dismally failed projects like GEMS (Hotels and Resorts Limited) and the chartering of Carnival Destiny for CWC2007,” he said..

“As a small business that has operated on Barbados for 25 years and that is fully paid up with all our statutory obligations, it is a significant amount of money. Yet the same Government has owed us outstanding VAT refunds of nearly $30,000 for up to two years. Of course they have not paid us any late penalty charges or interest.

“Before going public, I have written personally to the ministers of the various Government bodies involved, but up until today, not received any form of response. It appears they feel they have no obligation to businesses that are successful, sustainable (through there own efforts) and those who have demonstrated viability over decades of operation.”

Loveride said this was despite the fact that “week after week, it is almost impossible not to read or listen to endless rhetoric about the importance that small businesses will play in the recovery of our economy”.

“As a frequent writer on tourism matters, I have become used to attracting a high level of attention in Government circles with all the negative consequences this has brought over the years. But this is another matter,” the hotelier stated.

“At the same time, the new administration must define its priorities and decide whether it is going to be its policy to support and encourage small businesses to grow and survive or whether through its actions, it is going to bury them, with all the employment implications that brings.”

His concerns follows those raised by the Barbados Chamber of Industry and Commerce, Barbados Private Sector Association and the Small Business Association.

A BPSA study found that government owed local businesses, small and large, about $50 million.

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