AG says Sandals’ closing is good

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Attorney General (AG) Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin feels the temporary closure of Sandals Hotel during the peak season will not affect the economy of Antigua & Barbuda.
The AG said residents should look at the situation from a positive light and look at the glass as being half full.
“They are expanding the facility and ensuring that they remain competitive in order to maintain a high level of activity in Antigua & Barbuda. I think our politicians are so skewed in turning everything so negative that even when people are upgrading their facility they try to make it appear as if something bad is happening in the economy when in fact our economy is getting an injection and an upgrade,” Benjamin said.
The AG went on to say that people in Antigua and Barbuda are too negative and try to make everything negative and it doesn’t matter how long people are going to be without work, people should look at the fact that the country’s economy will be better off at the end of the day.
However, management and financial consultant Everett Christian had a completely different take on the matter of the economy and the Prime Minister’s declaration that the economy is booming.
“The evidence is there to show otherwise. Yes, the economy may be growing but what we need to look at are the factors that are contributing to that growth and I wish to suggest at this time that a lot of it has to do with government spending on salaries and wages and this is not sustainable. So the growth may not be as sustainable as one may wish.
“With the hotel closing there is going to be a significant reduction in visitor arrivals, in visitor spending and obviously, in the tax revenues being generated from the sector. Then there will be an additional hit to the statutory co-operations because with the employees being unemployed for 3 or 4 months, that obviously will reduce the take for Social Security, Medical Benefits and the Board of Education for that period as well. It certainly will have a significant impact on different sectors of the economy,” Christian explained.
The consultant also explained that even though some hotels usually close during the summer or slow season, the major hotels such as the Verandah Resort and Spa and the Sandals Grande Antigua Resort and Spa are opened all year round. Therefore, the fact that they are closing their doors temporarily, is troubling.
The discussion on Sandals’ impending temporary closure comes days after the Verandah Resort and Spa announced that they will be closing their doors from August 30 to October 13 this year.

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