FX committee recommends higher travel and import taxes

A hike in cruise visitor head taxes and airport departure fees are among recommendations now before the Freundel Stuart administration for consideration.

At the same time, Government has been told it needs to undertake a full examination of the national import bill “with a view to identifying a list of non-essential items which would be subjected to higher tax rates and or quantifiable limits”.

The recommendations are among those put forward by the Foreign Exchange Working Group of the Social Partnership which was mandated by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last month to advise on a series of measures to be taken to shore up the dwindling foreign exchange reserves which fell precariously from $1.4 billion in 2012 to $681 million by the end of last year.

Concerned that the bread and butter tourism industry is not producing the required financial returns while the island’s stock of foreign reserves is fast declining, the Committee has warned of the need for urgent corrective action to stem the downward trend.

“This requires a simultaneous parallel approach where incentives that earn foreign exchange are adopted, while at the same time measures to save foreign exchange are implemented,” the Report said, while warning of the need for “some radical impactful measures”.

Currently, the island’s debt service is estimated at more than $300 million annually and rising, in the context of dwindling access to capital loans through private placement, the apparent weakening of the link between arrivals and tourism revenue.

Hence, the committee has warned that the only way to shield the reserves in the medium term is through further intensified fiscal adjustment.

At the same time it has suggested that a greater effort must be made to boost the island’s overall competitiveness in both tourism and international business.

“Urgent and aggressive effort to revitalize these industries and address the ease of doing business is needed if Barbados is to improve its export earnings to the desired level,” the Report warns.

It further cautioned that Barbados, which has for a decade been a safe haven for Trinidad and Tobago capital in the form of deposits, mergers and acquisitions, was in danger of losing that status given the recent downgrades by international ratings agencies.

“Also, it should be noted that some large resident retailers have Trinidadian investments and may be facing foreign exchange constraints in that market as well,” it added.

Apart from the hike in tourism charges, the committee therefore recommends a stepped up programme of incentives with a view to attracting more investment to the island. It also advocates major engagement with the international business sector with a view to making it easier for the sector to do business in Barbados as well as stepped up communication with the public on the whole on economic matters as a means of boosting economic confidence generally.

In terms of capital flows and debt strategy, the Committee has recommended that the Central Bank and Government continue to engage with the high-end business and financial community on “a targeted programme of sterilized short and medium term loans”. It further suggests that measures to facilitate philanthropy by external high net worth individuals and remittances by the Barbadian Diaspora be put in place in earnest, while ongoing efforts to divest public assets continue to be explored.

The committee also recommends that there be frequent opportunities for domestic duty-free shopping zones where both locals and visitors can purchase items at duty-free prices in United States dollars, thus reducing the informal hoarding of US dollars by locals.

In terms of fiscal and administrative matters, it suggested that the private sector submits to Government a list of stalled projects, which may be held up in Town & Country Planning or Corporate Affairs, to see whether there are indeed projects that can and should be approved with dispatch.

Pursuant to the recent passage of the Barbados Revenue Authority Bill, the Committee also recommends that tax clearance certificates be issued within three working days.

It also called for priority to be given to foreign exchange earners in terms of the issuance of VAT refunds; for efforts to be taken to reduce the leakage of foreign exchange and for a rigorous procedure to be developed to ensure there is a nexus between concessions granted to investors and actual foreign exchange received. 

52 Responses to FX committee recommends higher travel and import taxes

  1. Diana Cummins
    Diana Cummins April 22, 2017 at 2:00 am

    Tourists would find other destinations, darn departure tax is high already,as with every other things.

  2. Meakai April 22, 2017 at 2:01 am

    Ossie Moore’s foolish brother tell me to dare wunna tuh curb the importation of Remy, cars, sweet drinks, pig tails and chicken wings if wunna bad, so I dare wunna, I double dare wunna, freeze Remy imports.

  3. jus me April 22, 2017 at 2:09 am


    Barbados Beach club
    Discovery Bay
    Port St Charles
    Acra Beach
    Crystal Cove
    Sugar Bay
    Waves Hotel
    Southern Palms
    Turtle Beach
    Mango Bay
    The Club
    Almond Beach
    Time Out


    Is the PM taking us all for idiots?

    All inclusive hotels collect payments OUT OF BARBADOS,
    receive duty free concessions, and remit only what is needed to pay the running of the hotels.

    SO WHY is the PM wondering WHERE IS THE FX.

    He knows damned well where the FX is, and does nothing about it.
    He would rather tax us to the eyeballs and cry WOLF, because HE GAVE all the FX away to these businesses.

    The tourist numbers can increase up to 100% capacity, FX will not.
    What business is stupid enough to put hard currency into a country run by incompetents.
    Who give away everything and the businesses know this is
    indisputable BECAUSE THEY GOT IT.
    The FX does not GO anywhere ,IT NEVER CAME INTO BARBADOS in the FIRST PLACE.

    • Walmark John F April 23, 2017 at 7:14 am

      One other issue…. I cannot believe all the Private Condos being built on the island … those buying these 500,000 plus units likely don’t spend like regular tourists either ….

  4. Ryan R A Charles
    Ryan R A Charles April 22, 2017 at 2:31 am

    Well good bye to tourism

  5. Arthur Marshall
    Arthur Marshall April 22, 2017 at 2:43 am

    hello cuba bye barbados

  6. Michael Turton
    Michael Turton April 22, 2017 at 3:06 am

    Here we go again trying to tax your way out every situation …….

  7. Ali Baba
    Ali Baba April 22, 2017 at 3:35 am


  8. Greengiant April 22, 2017 at 4:43 am

    While I’m well aware which party is governing our country at this time, I take specific note that most of you, like the opposition leader want us to believe the current administration alone is responsible for our current economic woes.

    Well the all inclusive hotels were introduced to Barbados several years ago and grew significantly during the leadership of the BLP. They too gave significant incentives to new hotels, the financial services sector, even returning nationals. They basically gave an incentive once they smelled foreign direct investment. Oh and the little they got, they spent as our import wants (not needs) increased tremendously between 1994 and 2008. So money that should have settled the little dept left by Erskine Sandiford after our eight percent deduction was used to start the dept payment process was mismanaged by the BLP.

    The institutional restructuring that had started by the DLP when they were massive lay offs in the public sector, was reversed by the Bees to the point where ministries rehired significant numbers, and new statutories were formed creating thousands of new posts within the public service. The same BCCI, Employer confederation, social partnership group and trade unions were around, but none of them spoke out against the then BLP government.

    So in 2008 the DLP returned to office to see all the gains made for the country, for which the Erskine Sandiford government was sacrificed or I should say ” had laid down it’s political life ” had been reversed by the Bees under Arthur. The error, the Thompson administration should have started to reverse that negative development immediately on assuming office. Stuart since acquiring a new mandate from the people should have sat down with the social partners, BCCI, unions and others concerned to agree on a model towards restructuring and restoration of the economy. The hidden fact is that we became proud that in the developed world we were known to ” punch above our weight “.
    Well, boxers aren’t allowed to fight professionally outside their weight category, and you will never see a flying fish swallow a whale. So under the Bees we’ve been doing foolishness and the developed nations been laughing at us.

    So do we continue with a party who was so concerned with popularity, and holding onto power that they refused to restructure from 2008, and even under new leadership three years later. Do we return to those who threw out the restructuring plan and process after all the hard sacrifice, meaningful gains made with the island on a positive growth path. Yes the Bees increased the deficit tremendously in fourteen years.

    I say to my fellow citizens we cannot and must not return to either of these parties. One is too reckless, the other too coward to restore our economy. Only a new style of government, with a new party or the strongest coalition within our parliamentary structure will work for us. Whatever we do, these two (DLP and BLP) can’t be trusted individually or collectively to manage our affairs. Third parties normally destabilize relationships, however in this case one will create positive results I’m sure.

    I’ve just offered you a solution, Barbados.

  9. Sophia Branch
    Sophia Branch April 22, 2017 at 4:53 am

    What next

  10. Anthony Small
    Anthony Small April 22, 2017 at 5:24 am

    I’ll go to Cuba

  11. jrsmith April 22, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Barbados has become a tax dependent economy, but they cannot and dont efficiently collect taxes, people are allowed to get away not paying taxes for many reasons……
    We need a level playing field in barbados , when things are bad everyone should bear the pain , rich and poor not them and us …
    Are we always going to put in place governments incapable of managing barbados LTD and cast a vote to secure politicians jobs for a political period, where they are paid as failures ………….

    My take, the people of barbados need something to keep our politicians in check , dont care who they are , to make sure there is an automatic right of the people to have them remove from office , we cannot put up with terms of what we have now ,not again…….

    • hcalndre April 22, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      jrsmith; you heard the PM said that the people gave them 5 years and they`re going to take every minute of it to do as they please. Elections in barbados used to be early in the year and as it look it will be June and it will go like that under Feundel until it reaches the 8th or 9th month of the next election year if they were to retain the government.

  12. Veroniva Boyce
    Veroniva Boyce April 22, 2017 at 6:39 am

    Destination EUROPE & Mediterranean.

  13. James Amlighty
    James Amlighty April 22, 2017 at 6:44 am

    These people need to go…vote dem out…

  14. Michelle Griffith
    Michelle Griffith April 22, 2017 at 7:03 am

    Stupid is as Stupid does,Barbados is already losing tourists to other Caribbean Islands,and this is what you can come up with,a hike in visitor head tax an airport depart tax,that’s a brilliant idea,bravo.

    • Estwick Paula
      Estwick Paula April 22, 2017 at 8:58 am

      I agree with what you’re saying but I lived in several other islands and I really don’t find things in Barbados anymore expensive than other destinations. Certainly not Jamaica, where I just left, who millions of tourist visit yearly. The plane fare is cheaper for North Americans, obviously but in in terms of food, hotels, car rentals, souvenirs, it’s about the same give or take. It’s definitely cheaper than Cayman Islands and Bermuda.

    • hcalndre April 22, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      Mich Griffith; when or if the Hyatt is built, tourist and visitors would be falling head over heels to get in it. Do hotels bring people to barbados? Barbados does well when the winter is brutal in Europe and N. America. This past winter is a prime example to compare with the one before and the hoteliers have said that things were not so good. The days of Sea, Sand and Sun are over.

  15. Gee Zette
    Gee Zette April 22, 2017 at 7:14 am

    Yea buddy take a swipe at the head thing bringing us money..Smh sheeshh…why not just stop important certain things we can do without importing get creative in thinking not taxing

  16. Cordelia Tull
    Cordelia Tull April 22, 2017 at 7:35 am

    I’m thinking of a word..and it begins with C…

  17. Ro-shell Mayers
    Ro-shell Mayers April 22, 2017 at 7:36 am

    Barbados is long off my radar .. overpriced and nothing special.. even with family links I won’t be visiting again..many more spectacular up and coming tourist destinations in the world, at a fraction of the cost , travel accommodation and spending money factored in

  18. Arethia Goodman
    Arethia Goodman April 22, 2017 at 7:49 am

    You tube : Aretha Franklin – Respect 1967 Oringinal Version.

  19. Nico HL Beckles
    Nico HL Beckles April 22, 2017 at 7:51 am

    FX committee could only be a pack of retard ra,,,,,, If you would lower the blasted import taxes, stores and manufacturers would be able to sell their items cheaper which would encourage the tourists to spend the blasted foreign exchange you want. The general consensus for tourists on Barbados is “Lovely Island but too expensive” So they just walk around taking pictures, buy two keyrings n go to hell back home and I dont blame them…Who wants to spend 1000+ to come to an island to buy an item for $300 when they could buy the same thing back at home for $35?

  20. Anson Sobers
    Anson Sobers April 22, 2017 at 8:11 am

    This is what a Committee recommends? Gets Failing grade!!!! Nothing out of the box just normal stuff that would put more hardship on people and send more visitors to cheaper islands

  21. Philip Matthews
    Philip Matthews April 22, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Making the Island less competitive, like if the tourist “Have” to come here, because we have the most wonderful tourist destination, position 58 does not say “wow the greatest place on earth”. Not smart in my opinion

  22. Tennille Griffith
    Tennille Griffith April 22, 2017 at 8:36 am

    Kerren Griffith

  23. Lilian Lloyd
    Lilian Lloyd April 22, 2017 at 8:36 am


  24. Barry Ward
    Barry Ward April 22, 2017 at 8:38 am

    These people got to be mad . ..

  25. Kaiser Sose
    Kaiser Sose April 22, 2017 at 8:40 am

    … MR PRIME MINISTER … come to america and convince compainies to come to barbados 97%literacy rate 90 times better than MEXICO. WHO ever the ECONOMIC MINISTER is needs to be SACKED.
    companies are looking for places to outsource jobs to $7.50 american money is $15.00 BAJAN money who would not work for that.This is what happens when you elect oldmen with old antiquated ideas you get tax increases no nuanced thinking and economic stagnation and morass. 30 yr tax free land leases,30 yr tax free profit tax free equipment materisls and hiring workers to build the companies infrastructure. Construction and the prople who work in the supporting businesses would prosper. Youbhave call centers thst could be moved to bim, billing collection phone banks, Sprint,AT&t,VERIZON,T MOBILE, call crnters csn be moved to BIM . IF YOU ALLelext these sycophants i:e the DLP again you all deserve what you get. Being screwed

  26. David Ramphal
    David Ramphal April 22, 2017 at 9:23 am

    Then Visitors and other people will go elsewhere .Please DON”T do that.

  27. Milli Watt April 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm

    this is what this crowd come up with a departure tax on an industry that is a life line all be run by parasites……..the problem with this crowd is that they want to curtail who travel to buy and sell back. My suggestion, given travel is the private sectors’ sole purview, is a tax clearance certificate to travel. I don’t own the government nothing so the tourist and me will still get to travel at no additional cost and the likes a that bunch that gather at LESC would have to stay home because they owe the state A LOT. How is that for a suggestion. wish I had a MOA…. on Friday and a drone.

  28. Ossie Moore April 22, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    Well I knew it wasn’t going to be too long before some bajan went into denial and start to use the ” comparison factor ” about ” it’s not as bad as compared to Jamaica and / or other countries etc, etc. and there goes Estwick Paula ( Paula Estwick )

    And although Estwick Paula ( Paula Estwick ) agrees with what everyone is saying , buy living in several other islands . . . . . she still really doesn’t find things in Barbados anymore expensive than other destinations.

    The two bajan favorite words , denial / comparison.

    • hcalndre April 23, 2017 at 7:46 am

      Ossie; that`s the cop-out for the politicians and sympathizers by trying to compare other people and countries who they believe that are in the same comess as them, eg. Greece was their battle cry but have not heard it lately.

  29. Tony Webster April 22, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    All these well-meaning suggestions/recommendations….but nary a mention of begging the men from The East, to come wid plane-loads of both USD loans, and workers, to help us out, without yielding to any unpleasant strictures by Imminently Menacing Fiends. All we have to do is let them build -and run- a cupple things, like:-
    1. New cruise Port .
    2. New Airport.
    3. New HQ for coast guard.
    4. New airport in St. Lucy, for Bajan Air Force ( wid Chinese fighter aircraft)
    5. New National Stadium.
    6. New Q.E.H. …sorry…”Chinese Friendly Free Centre for Eastern Medicine”

    Get cracking on learning mandarin, folks.

  30. Frank White April 22, 2017 at 1:38 pm

    They are upping the thing… They are trying to create the haves and haves-nots… You see, the reality is that you, FX committee is not going to make any recommendations that will effect them and or their businesses, rather the opposite. Every turkey does look out for he own craw…

  31. Donild Trimp April 22, 2017 at 2:40 pm

    What I did not see is a call for businesses to pay the more than $600 million owed to the Barbados Treasury.

    That must also be a priority to make these businesses pay up or get rid of the incompetent lawyers working for Government who are unable to put the proper procedures together to recover this money.

    Let them work in the private sector because as far as I am concern, they are all drawing a salary by fraud.

    If you are an attorney working in the Government office and you cannot do anything legally to collect over $600 million owed to the Barbados Treasury, YOU ARE A FRAUD.

  32. I in know too good April 22, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    Then I will hear that Barbados is not a tax heaven

  33. Sheron Inniss April 22, 2017 at 4:18 pm

    NO MORE TAXES. YES I NEED TO SHOUT. Comparing bad with worse is no comparison. The Jamaicans who are poor down there catching them tails. To the average man who wants to travel I say “Put on your wings and fly” or try something from them sci/fi movies and see if they work. STEUPSE

  34. Alex Alleyne April 22, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    If you think that tourist numbers are down , then try this foolishness. Remember that there is a “lot more world out there to see”.

  35. harry turnover April 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Done way wid de DLP and the BLP…let the BUSINESS people pay off the DEBT and run Bdos…and go after the people who teef the guvment money and got it stash way in ovaseas accounts and mek them pay back every yen
    Lock up de people who tek out NIS money from employees pay packets and use it fa travelling. Lock up the bosses of the Business places that charge VAT and keep it and give it to da family or to the outside women.
    Go after the people that doan pay income tax.Lock up some of them at the Inland Department for encouraging that .
    A lot more people could be gone after or locked up but that is a start.

  36. Ossie Moore April 22, 2017 at 5:48 pm

    Awesome thinking and great ideas Mr. harry turnover but who are you asking to lock these people up ? That’s just like asking a mongoose to guard a hen house !

  37. nanci April 22, 2017 at 8:05 pm

    17.8 percent tax and that still not enough. i never seen a country tax food, only in barbados.

    • hcalndre April 23, 2017 at 12:10 am

      Nanci; They put tax on food items and then say that people are eating too much junk food and drinking too many sodas. A small ham cost $75, a chicken the size of a dove, $20 and a piece of rotisserie chicken 2x as much, that why the judge told an accused who was charged with stealing a ham that it was not “ham season”. Can any one tell me which comes first, the ham or the sea eggs season.

  38. Andrew Farley April 22, 2017 at 10:01 pm

    Please Mr.Prime minister, You need to stop dreaming, round pegs were not made for square holes. open your eyes, can you see what is going on in this country ? it is high time to call elections .

  39. Mr. Crowley April 23, 2017 at 1:12 am

    Who are these clowns that were assign the task of coming up with ideas?? This is it? More taxes….I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again; too many of our leaders and advisers are old tired people with no creativity and ingenuity. That’s the biggest problem in Barbados today: old useless tired men and women without a modicum of vision and imagination. They all collecting big pay cheques just for showing up! Watching the leaders of this little island attempt to execute the simplest of task is so painful.

  40. Walmark John F April 23, 2017 at 7:03 am

    So, help me out here….. the tourists that are coming and spending their hard earned dollars will be taxed because they aren’t spending enough? Sounds like politicians need a wake up call. What about leadership in attracting more tourists ?
    Typical Politicians,,,, same in every country….too many career politicians and not enough common sense solutions.
    Politicians and common sense ??? You tell me .

  41. Walmark John F April 23, 2017 at 7:24 am

    One other point, very important point as a 20 year visitor to B’dos…. everyone , virtually everyone we know always ask us ” why barbados when it is so expensive compared to other islands” …well, we just maybe start checking it out…. we’ve been here for 3 weeks ,, we will have spent close to 10,000 all in for this trip . Measure that over 20 years….
    No one from barbados has ever asked us our opinions on the island ?

    • Donild Trimp April 23, 2017 at 11:09 am

      @ Walmark John F – “No one from Barbados has ever asked us our opinions on the island”

      Are you sure?

      Someone usually comes around while you are waiting in the departure lounge with a survey form for you to fill in.

      You never got one of those in 20 years?

  42. Richard Johnston April 23, 2017 at 7:45 am

    Desperate people do desperate things.

  43. Mark Adamson April 23, 2017 at 11:50 am

    A barrifle of hogwash recommendations.

    The so-called Foreign Exchange Committee of the Social Partnership has been a clear waste of time and energy, especially when it has been made up of persons who hold some many identical political economic financial ideologies, philosophies and psychologies of the same ruling oligarchs that have helped to put Barbados in the structural and institutional paralyses and deficiencies that is in.

    It has started wrongly, as that there is nothing that can be proven to be Foreign Exchange. NOTHING exists that can be described as such. What piffle!!

    Here are some of the policy objectives that are needed, and like yesterday, for the helping putting of this country on a new and sustainable national social, political, material and financial growth and development trajectory, and that will be helped brought about by the People’s Democratic Congress (PDC), in rightful and dutiful association with other political organizations forming a certain future coalitional government of Barbados:

    1) The Abolition of Taxation;

    2) The Abolition of Interest Rates;

    3) The Abolition of ALL so-called Exchange Rates Parities with the Barbados Dollar;

    4) The Abolition of All Motor Vehicle Insurance;

    5) The establishment of a National Currency Board (NCB) to manage currency and financial credit flows within the country, and into and out of it;

    6) The making sure that the Real Actual Cost of Use of Money in Barbados is substantially reduced in the medium to long term;

    7) The making sure that the Money Turn Over Rate is substantially increased in this country;

    8) The legalization of the uses, by persons 18 years and over generally, and by persons of the approved professions, specifically, of marijuana and its various biological relatives, and the legalization of the specified and specific amounts of such that are consistent with the social, personal, recreational, religious, commercial, medicinal, and research purposes for which such plants, their main derivatives, and their uses will be put to, respectively;

    9) The making sure that there is almost total freedom of interaction between the nominal receipts of individuals, businesses and other relevant entities, and the nominal receipts that are to be made by the entities that would be charged with running the business and corporate affairs of the Seaport, Airport and at all other points of entry in this country, where there is the transacting of commercial goods and services entering/exiting Barbados;

    10) The making sure that locally based exporters of goods and services receive their transfers (nominal receipts) through the National Currency Board (NCB). These local exporters will get from the NCB, the equivalent amounts of local money/financial credits that local business people – in the like cases – will get from local people, businesses and entities, when getting/having got ownership of the identical/similar goods or uses of the identical/similar services to those goods and services that have been exported. In such cases the NCB will be deemed to be acting on the behalf of the overseas parties who will eventually own those goods and/or use those services, and who under the said contracts will either give foreign currency or foreign financial credits to the NCB which – in turn – will thereafter give to the locally based exporters the amounts in local transfers that are wholly due to them;

    11) The introduction of a regime of the assembling of aircraft, motor vehicles, missiles, satellites, the building of ships, etc for Barbados;

    12) The introduction of Partnership Enterprises to take places of companies, ministries, statutory corporations, etc, and wherefore in every instance – before the coming about of such Enterprises – there would have had to be seen – in any business or governmental organizations in operation in this country – two or more persons involved in them. The incoming Partners will be the part owners of these enterprises – hence, the substantial elimination of the work system/culture in Barbados;

    13) The establishment of a Hire Purchase Relief Fund for persons (not businesses) who – under their respective hire-“purchase” contracts – will be proven to have had genuine difficulties in giving over monies to the relevant hire-“purchase” enterprises;

    14) The establishment of a Water Expense Relief Fund to help those persons who – at whatever times after its implementation – have proven genuine difficilties in repairing the receipts debts owed to the BWA type entity, as a result of the receipts challenges helped brought on by imbalances in their commercial industrial and other related affairs;

    15) The ensuring that NO foreigners whatsoever are able to own land spaces rights in this country – only that they may be permitted to lease such rights.

    16) The institution of a serious Regime of Rent Control over all residential, commercial and social accommodation in this country;

    17) The building of a modern efficient railway system for Barbados, to run back and forth on what is now the existing ABC/Ronald Mapp Highways;

    18) The introduction of specialized secondary school education, via the institution of Academies – the Abolition of the Common Entrance Exam – the introduction of an appropriate National Continuous Assessment Program – and the introduction of Full Zoning for Barbados, with some reasonable exceptions thereto;

    19) The building of a modern acute care 200 bed hospital for the north of the country;

    20) The implementation of a Proportional Representational Electoral System for all national elections of Barbados (elections of the Cabinet/Judges of the Supreme Court), to take the place of the very inadequate and deficient first past the post electoral system;

    21) The election of Judges to their Supreme Court positions in this country;

    22) The institution of Constituency Assemblies for Barbados – one per constituency – and whereby – within them – elected constituents – as members thereof – will have all opportunities to initiate, debate, and pass the laws of this country;

    23) The removal of the Queen as head of the governmental system of Barbados – and the creation of an Executive Coalitional Republican System for this country, which (as earlier represented in (20 above) will itself be nationally elected.


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