926 companies in Antigua closed since COVID began

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Cabinet notes: The Director and Deputy Director of the Social Security (SSB) were invited to Cabinet to address the issue of compliance of firms with the requirements to pay contributions of employees, deducted from wages and salaries.

The Cabinet learned that 926 companies have closed their operations since the onset of Covid-19; 426 of these companies are still owing the SSB deductions totalling $9,000,000 approximately. Prior to 2020, firms owed the SSB a total of $27,000,000.

The Barbuda Council owes the SSB $21,000,000 for deductions made from wages and salaries but not paid over to the SSB. The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has been paying its required contribution in full, and has provided additional amounts to meet the shortfall in revenue caused by the layoffs in the private sector.

In order to ensure greater compliance with payment requirements, 10 geographic zones have been created to which a total of ten Compliance Officers have been assigned. There are 4,300 private employers who normally employ most of the workers in the private sector — with the exception of the self-employed.

Construction workers, fisherfolk and some farmers –the self-employed– tend to pay nothing into the SSB; upon reaching old age, many discover that they cannot pursue their accustomed livelihoods and are plunged into poverty. Their current contributions to SSB are therefore an investment which will bear fruit in their declining years.

The SSB plans a series of radio and television series to inform and to nudge these self-employed workers to make regular contributions.

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17 COMMENTS

  1. Congratulations ABLP on your destruction of 926 businesses in Antigua and all the jobs associated with them. You couldn’t have done better if you tried. Your fake pandemic worked wonders. Amazing!

      • LOL Don’t worry he is far gone. No doctor can help him. As far as he or she is concern is Gaston Browne created Covid. And Gaston Browne brings rain and sunshine everyday.

    • Of all the dumb arsine comments I’ve seen on this blog I do believe this one takes the cake. Is this person really implying that a gobal pandamic that forced the shut down of the basically the whole world was caused by the prime minister of a third world country. Is this person really saying that Gaston Browne cause the travel, sports entertainment industry to loses billions of dollars in revenue with his fake pandemic? Well I know the ABLP minons call him World Boss but I didnt know he was so powerful!!

      • Are you really that daft?
        What was being implied was that Gaston Brown is in league with the global elites and their plan envisioned at Davos Switzerland. He isn’t that smart to do it by himself!
        He isn’t alone in this warped plan either, a lot of governments are following suit either out of greed, stupidity or blackmail.

      • Cardinal Raymond Burke Warns “The Great Reset”

        It’s the plan proposed by the World Economic Forum and world leaders to use the COVID-19 pandemic to take control of the global economy.

        Cardinal Raymond Burke the former archbishop of St. Louis had an interesting take on the Great Reset and was quoted saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is “used by certain forces, inimical to families and to the freedom of states, to advance their evil agenda. These forces tell us that we are now the subjects of the so-called ‘Great Reset,’ the ‘New Normal”.
        [https://welovetrump.com/2020/12/17/cardinal-raymond-burke-warns-the-great-reset-brings-marxism-to-the-united-states/?utm_source=PTN&utm_medium=mixed&utm_campaign=PTN]

  2. Friday I believe Barbuda Council will be on Darren show on Observer. You think Darren will ask them about this new revelation. Why is it that Cabinet only find out about these things because they ask for information?
    I have over the years called on the PM to have more hands on approched with the statutory bodies especially Social Security. Staff there are treathning to strike over and over again. But they know the PM is ill informed by both the Director and the Chairman. Anytime they have issues they do not come up with solutions. They just stretch op their hand, becuse all the pressure is on the government not on them. As the Director once said, he will not stress as the Act say the government is responsible for any shortfall that the fund may have from time to time. So they hardly make it a priority to collect and especially from statutory corporations. And then they have this crazy contract with the legal person who is on payroll and at the same time is getting commission on any collected funds. So it pays to have arrears for her. You can imagine if she collect he monies owed by the Barbuda Council. She’ll take home a very large sum of money for doing absolutely her work and nothing else. Might as well hire a collection agent.
    When I see the picture of what is now deemed to be the Social Security office it hurts. Because the astronomical cost of the rent is something that could have been saved had these people done the right thing and fixed the building in which they were. Now they hve paid some contractor hundreds on thousand to gut the building and who knows what he did with all the fixtures and fitting. I mean anyone knows how much a toilet cost. Or just the hardware of doors. I could go on and on. But just to mention the contract never went to tender. Now they are in the same place again without oversight from Cabinet to spend million on the building of a new headqurter. Oh gosh man PM you still that blind when it comes to the Director. Please let Public Works take over the entire construction. You will get the same outcome like with ADOMS if you give these guys the same freedom to do as they like. Let them focus on running the Social Security Operation which already they are not doing a good job and they are giving you lots of sixes for nines. And you my friend disappointedly are swallowing each time hook line and sinker. Social need a complete overhaul. Investment of their assets needs to be done by compitent individuals other than management. The Board Members do not posses that compitent either. And it doesn’t hve to be a large team. Minimal Three Maximl Five professionals. Policies must be established as to the risks factor and the gaoals the fund should try to achieve. Even at investment firms when we invest people’s money we take the persons goals in consideration. We do research as to the vehicles that will bring us there and present that to our client for approval. Low risk have lower return Higher risk has higher return. And ofcourse the liquidity is a factor as well. Social cannot get any meaningful retrun from its assets. And selling in a depressed economy is like destroying assets. See for how much they sold the building on Redcliffe Street to the Chinese Company. Prime Asset in the middle of town.
    I hope Trevor can explain the arrears, but then again that money will never ever be paid so write that off. Just make sure the present monies are paid in. Goverment can offset it with their subvention over a twenty year period. Means government will pay them one million less each year.

  3. I REALLY would like to know where news like this come from. SSB is not a company registration agency and not all companies are registered with them.

    Therefore, they cannot truly paint a picture of closure. Non Payment of a tax (SS) is not a sign of closure.

    Some are simply just not paying, then COVID is used as an excuse to hide cash and complain. Investors and government are robbing locals of SS, MBS and Edu Levy and its going to get worse.

  4. The power is there under the law by Social Social Authorities to take delinquent business owners to Court. Why they are not doing so since persons are violating the Law.

    Barbuda owing the Social Security $21,000.000 that sounds fake. Then Government owes billions.
    Me want me money.

  5. “The Government of Antigua and Barbuda has been paying its required contribution in full, and has provided additional amounts to meet the shortfall in revenue caused by the layoffs in the private sector” truly a FIRST (not that it’s not their obligation) but from the past administrations practices, it’s a step in the right direction. Why does SS wait until now to disclose these info why not inform the Cabinet of the day so they can go through Parliament and provide the SS with authoritative tools to collect or are there tools already in place and SS is not enforcing them? If its the latter them desk needs to be emptied.

    • All good questions. I have made suggestions many times. Not only SS lacks monitorring and only when something goes wrong the government looks into these corporations. Having been a director in the Holding company of a group consisting of many subsidiaries I know you have the create lots if subcommittees to assist you in monitoring these subsidiaries. Cabinet needs to start establishing these committees. The Boards needed to do this, but the boards are normally staffed with cronies and supporters that most of the time do not make any contribution. It’s all about having an income.
      If the board was functioning the PM would never have a crisis on his hands to deal with personally. The board should have been reviewing the financials and ask these questions. If you see an accounts receivable growing month after month and year after year it simply means management is doing their job to go after the company’s funds. And the reason they do not think its part of their job, because there are no consequenses.
      At one time Lennox Weston was given the mandate by the PM to review the performance of the funds. Weston announced on the radio that he is coming and that they better pull up or ship-out. He never showed up. The staff was disappointed as many of them welcomed that and were looking forward that things would now be better. Monies are wasted on my frivolous things, such as new tablets for board members. New cellphones. Subscriptions and many other things.
      And when they get involved in the granting of construction contracts it is a cesspool for corruption. And then the Government get the bad name and the blame.
      Gaston needs to closely monitor these corporations. And one thing I’ve learned is that you by pass the GM or the Director in the case of Social Security and go straight to management for answers. GM tend to give you part of the information as they are scared to get fired.

  6. Mexico’s president slams lockdowns as a form of ‘dictatorship’
    Says stay-at-home orders betray ‘authoritarian instincts’ of governments.

    Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador slammed lockdowns as a form of “dictatorship” during a press conference, telling reporters that such measures betray “authoritarian instincts.”

    The populist leftist leader, known as AMLO by his supporters, said that COVID-19 lockdowns were “fashionable among authorities…who want to show they are heavy handed, dictatorship.”

    “A lot of them are letting their authoritarian instincts show,” he added, noting that, “The fundamental thing is to guarantee liberty.”

    Obrador also insisted that mask-wearing should be voluntary and not mandated by the state.

    As National File highlights, while other Latin American countries have imposed strict lockdowns, AMLO has spoke out against stay-at-home orders, although authorities in different regions have

    “For example, the third most populous state in Mexico, Jalisco, currently governed by the opposition left-liberal Citizens’ Movement, has introduced a mask mandate in all public areas,” writes Eduardo Rivero.

    “Other states have gone further still, introducing stay-at-home orders and shutting non-essential businesses. Even states governed by conservative politicians, such as Puebla, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, have adopted strict lockdown restrictions.”
    [https://summit.news/2020/12/16/mexicos-president-slams-lockdowns-as-a-form-of-dictatorship/?utm_source=wnd&utm_medium=wnd&utm_campaign=syndicated]

  7. American Medical Association Rescinds Previous Statement Against Prescription of Hydroxychloroquine to COVID-19 Patients

    The American Medical Association (AMA), in a surprising move, has officially rescinded a previous statement against the use of Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) in the treatment of COVID-19 patients, giving physicians the okay to return to utilizing the medication at their discretion.

    Previously, the AMA had issued a statement in March that was highly critical of HCQ in regards to its use as a proposed treatment by some physicians in the early stages of COVID-19. In addition to discouraging doctors from ordering the medication in bulk for “off-label” use – HCQ is typically used to treat diseases such as malaria – they also claimed that there was no proof that it was effective in treating COVID, and that its use could be harmful in some instances.

    However, on page 18 of a recent AMA memo, issued on October 30, (resolution 509, page 3) the organization officially reversed their stance on HCQ, stating that its potential for good currently may supersede the threat of any potential harmful side effects.

    So, there we have it. HCQ could not be approved before the election, because President Trump had recommended it. Meanwhile, with an 8o +% reduced risk of having to be admitted to the hospital if administered with Azithromycin and Zinc as soon as testing positive or symptoms occurred, many (70000+) lives could have been saved.

  8. Social Security Board Members are all square pegs in round holes.They could not lead a sightless horse to the drink.It would have to lead them.Why are we only finding out now that Barbuda Council owes SSA $21 million.I would like to hear from the Council on this matter.

    • Tuna there are lots of crazy things going on at Social Security. As the saying goes when the top slack the middle and botton will drop off. Forexample there suppose to be a policy in place that if a contractor owes Social Security he cannot bid for jobs. Yet these things are happening and monies are not deducted from his pay. Contracts are given without going to tender against the policy of government. The legal person is getting paid a salary and commission on every dollars that se collect just by doing her job, writing demand letters to contractors and others that owe Social Security. These commissions are in the tens of thousands monthly. Cabinet is failing to give proper oversight on this staturoty body. The Director seems to have the gift of gab. And the PM is swolling everything he says hook line and sinker. You would think that in these Covid hard times when each and every dollar counts that discretionary spending would be absolutely zero. Forget that. They have no heart when it comes to making a choice to chose whether to pay pensioners a couple of thousand or to buy computer gadgets. I wonder if the PM will approve their budget.

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