The operators of Sandals Grande Antigua said they are not intimidated by the government’s announced plan to hire international tax auditors to examine the financials of that company and all other corporate entities in Antigua and Barbuda.
Responding to OBSERVER media’s questions on the matter, the company wrote, “Sandals Resorts Interna-tional (SRI) welcomes the recent announcement by Prime Minister Gaston Browne … since surely this is not intended as some vindictive campaign specifically directed at Sandals.”
Sandals said that for this process to work harmoniously, the government needs to state clearly: Who the auditors will be; the full schedule of audits, including timelines and the names of the companies that are being audited apart from Sandals and; the scope of works of the audit.
The company said it has been doing this exact type of auditing for several years and has no issue with the reports being published. It also said it would like the prime minister and his colleagues to publish the financial reports for all the other properties at the end of the audit.
Over the weekend, the prime minister issued what he called a “warning” to Sandals saying “When Sandals opens in December, make sure that there is no manipulation because I am throwing the full book at them, the full force of the law.” Browne’s declaration followed several past accusations about Sandals and its accounting and its alleged demands for more concessions.
Sandals said it really hopes the government would, in the interest of “real transparency,” also make public all the concessions being granted to the existing all-inclusive resorts on the island, as well as incoming hotels such as YIDA International.
(More in today’s Daily Observer)