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Did Buccament Bay Resort repay duty? – Eustace

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Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace would like to know if the Buccament Bay Resort is going to repay or has repaid import duty on items which it is now offering for sale to the public.{{more}}

During his appearance on the New Times programme on Nice Radio on Monday, Leader of the Opposition Arnhim Eustace said it had come to his attention that some furniture, tiles and other equipment that had been imported for the construction of the resort, were being put on the market.

“They didn’t pay any VAT; they didn’t pay any import duty on those items and they are now being sold to the public. And I know of more than one person who went and looked at these tiles and they were invited to do so.

“I haven’t heard of any public announcement about that,” Eustace stated.

“So, I am asking the question: is Buccament going to pay back, have they paid back the duties on these items that they are now prepared to sell, or is there an arrangement with the customs to the tax- payers to get back their money, or for the government to get the taxes? That is the question I’m asking.”

The Opposition Leader acknowledged that it is normal for projects of that type to receive duty free concessions when certain items are imported.

The president of the New Democratic Party said that he did not have an issue with the duty free concessions, as it is one way to stimulate investments.

He said what he has an issue with is that it has not been made clear to the potential buyers and public if and who would be paying these outstanding duties, seeing that the equipment was not going to be used for its original purpose.

“Is the customer going to be required to pay back the duty or the company?

“What is the arrangement? How is government going to get back its import duty and the VAT; that’s the question I want to ask….

“…One of the problems you will have is that they will be able to sell you furniture on which they didn’t pay duty, cheaper than businesses in Kingstown who are selling furniture and employing people; so it would be unfair to the business who you made to pay duty and consumption tax, and those persons who are selling to the public too; so I want to know what is the arrangement made by the people of Buccament to the Ministry of Finance in relation to the sale of these items.

“So, I want to know; these things are very important.

“These are the critical things that we should be talking about and resolve, because government revenue is falling; we can’t afford now to be losing revenue when people getting laid off left, right and centre in St Vincent and the Grenadines right now.”

When contacted, an official of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, the developers of Buccament Bay Resort, told SEARCHLIGHT that the company has no comment at this time.

In an email sent to SEARCHLIGHT on Wednesday, Neil Outram, communications manager said “We do not wish to make a statement at this time; the matter is being resolved.”(JJ)

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