Government to move a resolution over Sandals ABST payment waiver

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By Martina Johnson
[email protected]
A resolution will be taken to parliament to formalise the settlement reached between the government and Sandals Resort following a year-and-a-half row over what should or shouldn’t have been paid to the state under the Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) regime.
The government made the revelation yesterday that this will be done in the very near future to ensure that the December 5, 2016 Deed of Release and Settlement of Claim agreement between the parties, under Section
18 of the Finance Adminis-tration Act 2006, is legally binding.
Melford Nicholas, government information minister, said, “We have had over the past week and some, a [legal] opinion that indicated that, notwithstanding the very noble intentions of the Gaston Browne cabinet to approve the waiver of the arrears of $101 million, it needs to be supported by an act of parliament.”
He was speaking at the weekly post-cabinet meeting at the time, and he added that, “on [Wednesday] we made a determination that we will put forward a resolution before the House of Parliament to ensure that we remain within the context of the law.”
While it was noted that in the Settlement of Claim that Sandals made a point, in writing, that it was not “acknowledging the claim [by the government],” the company accepted to “settle the said issue and their differences whereby Sandals will pay ABST at the full statutory rate as from January 1, 2017, thus waiving any rights to a discounted rate of ABST” granted under the previous United Progressive Party (UPP) administration in 2009.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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