An Open Letter To The Prime Minister

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Dear PM Browne,

I think you were spot on when you declared some time last year, that this Sandals issue should be put to bed, and that you were putting it behind your back. Despite your promise, you have, at least twice, gone on radio and continued to beat that horse. People can interpret that however they might in terms of your ability to stand by your word, however let me offer some advice; staying quiet is a good idea, because the more you talk about it, the more you dig yourself into a hole.

Even if I was tempted to believe your allegations against the company sir, you yourself have been presenting such conflicting and amazing comments that you are eroding any credibility of your allegations.

From what I have read, the issue is quite simple; Sandals was given TIME LIMITED concessions as part of an agreement to deepen its investment in Antigua by building more rooms and facilities and providing more jobs. They did so, and even went beyond what they said they would do, and in return were given relief from the Hotel and Guest Levy for a ‘limited period’. That needs to be stressed. These concessions were going to come to an end in a couple of years whether you intervened or not! The ABST issue only arose because Antigua abolished the Hotel Levy, and this was done before the people got what was promised. All you had to do was honour the commitment made by the GOVERNMENT at the time, and in a couple of years you would have had your 100% ABST, which does make me question your motives behind attacking the people and calling them all sort of bandits etc. Is it for political gain?

If what the people did was so wrong, then pursue the $100 million you claim they owe. But it is becoming clearer and clearer that you can’t do it. On a radio programme this week the host, trying to pander to you of course, asked why don’t you pursue the money that you claimed Sandals owed. Here is your response:

“We will have to get legal advice. I’m not too sure if there was to be, let’s say, a court case, if we could sustain it, unless we could prove collusion. So what we may have to do is get a copy of the cheque or cheques that may, and I want to say here may, I don’t have any evidence to that effect and I don’t want to mislead the people, but we are told that certain contributions are given…in the absence of that you have to assume some form of regularity and that Sandals would have relied on what was said by the members of the UPP at the time….We can only speculate at this point but I’m not in a position to say whether there was anything sinister.”

WHAT!????

Sir but that is exactly what you have been doing! You have accused the people of collusion, you have accused them of ‘thiefing’ money, you have called it more than sinister, and now when asked to put your money where your mouth is you backtrack? That says a lot. But let’s go further.

You have spent the last few months saying the worst things about Sandals and its concessions, in fact, in the very interview this week you called them bandits. But let’s examine closely what you said.

“Sandals has been exploiting Caribbean countries, it’s an exploitative brand. I want to tell you, it’s a good tourism brand, don’t get me wrong, all the things they say about buying goods and so on, sure. They bring a lot of tourists that’s fine.”

WHAT!???

Sir, do you even listen to what you say? People are more discerning than you might give them credit for Prime Minister, and your contradictory statements do not add any credibility to your allegations.

As far as I am aware, the people have agreed to pay the full ABST as of January 2018. Enough said. Be quiet and move on. I leave you with this piece of advice from John C. Maxwell; “Great people talk about ideas, average people talk about themselves, and small people talk about others.” Or my personal favorite, “A loud mind is greater than a loud mouth.

Mikey Joseph

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14 COMMENTS

  1. A personal rendition of opinions is healthy expression! But they are still personal and simply opinions! We all have that right I guess!

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  2. This is the second letter in a row appearing on ANR. Is little Butch still acting like a butch and getting his minions (who clearly have wayyyy too much time on their hands) to write these dumb-ass letters? Or is it Tabor and the inept, nah-ready-fu-run-dis-country UPP folks?

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  3. The letter is quoting the PM and if he’s being quoted correctly then the PM Words sounds like he’s backtracking indeed.

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  4. Please leave the PM alone. Stuart pay the government it’s taxes. End of story. Why not write to The Jamaican Observer and ask him to put it to bed. SMH!!!

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  5. Writer have you been reading the Jamaica Observer? They have something like an article everyday attacking the PM. Your talk about the matter being linked to the guest night tax is wrong, according to Minister Nicolas who sits on the governments finance committee . What Sandals was exempted from was a tax they would have to pay mandated by the cap 205 (hotel tax act), not the the guest night tax (Hotel Guest Levy Act, Cap.202) their guests would have to pay. You also prefer to ignore the fact that the law does not give the minister of finance the power to waive the ABST, the way Cort did. It sets a max of some 50K and is only to be exercised in a case where the beneficiary was facing financial problems. The government was willing to forgive Sandals this because it saw no evidence that Sandals knew what it was doing was illegal. The question you should more ask if Sandals lawyers really told them the 2009 action, a month before the declaration of the 2009 election was legal, why did they not give it up?

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    • I guess the writer has not been reading the numerous Jamaica Observer articles. Perhaps we should point him to these. The PM is merely responding to these very same articles. Anyway I will always defend my country against any foreign oppressor.

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