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Finance minister says hotels can’t get concessions yet

Hoteliers will now have to wait more than a month longer to get concessions they were assured they would have received since last week.

Barbados TODAY understands that Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has backtracked on making the tax breaks, similar to those given to Jamaican hotel chain Sandals Resorts, available this month.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler addressing meeting with hoteliers.

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler addressing BHTA’s third quarterly general meeting with hoteliers on September 10.

At the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s third quarterly general meeting on September 10, Sinckler said that although the proposed changes to the Tourism Development Act – under which the concessions were to be granted – would not come into legal force until next month, the appropriate letters would be issued under Section 67 B of the Income Tax Act so the concessions could take effect the following week.

However, the BHTA’s executive vice president Sue Springer confirmed to Barbados TODAY this evening that after waiting all last week, representatives of the association met with Sinckler this week to discuss the promised relief and he delivered the bad news.

“We have been told that the amendments to the Tourism Development Act must [first] be laid in Parliament and we know that Parliament is now on recess until October 21,” she said.

“After that, it has to be gazetted, so we are talking about November 1 for us to have access to the concessions.”

While the BHTA has been patient thus far, Springer warned that if the relief was not forthcoming by then, BHTA’s response would not be a pleasant one.

Sinckler had promised at the BHTA meeting that he would have met with the association and officials from his ministry and other departments to ensure all administrative arrangements were put in place to fully execute the concessions.

The hoteliers have been banking on the concessions, saying that without the relief they would be uncompetitive.

And the BHTA had indicated, shortly after Sinckler’s announcement, that a number of local hotel operators have already budgeted to spend more than $40 million in refurbishments to further enhance their offerings.

When they eventually get the tax breaks, hoteliers will have to meet several conditions in order to keep them.

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4 Responses to BACKTRACK

  1. Tony Webster September 27, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Name me one breathing Bajan, who is genuinely surprised. Our hoteliers will just have to wait till the Intervening Mounted Forces to arrive, carrying fresh supplies of “ammunition”, to save the day.
    Place your bets, please…whilst tightening your belts.

  2. Cheryl A Rollins
    Cheryl A Rollins September 27, 2014 at 8:13 am

    What is there to like about this? Why was this an after-thought? Who the hell is Butch Stewart that he could walk into this country and be treated like a LORD while our hoteliers beg for concessions. The mere sight of this man pisses me off.

  3. Patrick Blackman September 27, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    As far as I am concern these hotelier should not get a dime in tax breaks. They are commercial enterprises stop waiting for hand outs run your business as it should be run. Few decades ago it was the sugar industry doing the same thing now the next generation of mendicants are at it again.

  4. Colin Daniel September 27, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    The letters can be issued under section 67 with an expiry date effective when the amendments to the Tourism Development Act have been completed. I have to ask, have the draft amendments been circulated for comment to ensure that they do in fact react what the industry is expecting. Will the amendments effectively include all the concession granted to Sandals?


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