Hoteliers taking too much, PM Browne advocates national ownership

4

Prime Minister Gaston Browne wants his and other Caribbean governments to acquire ownership in hotels.

Browne said it is “absolutely critical” that regional governments acquire ownership of hotel properties because the sector today is operating like a plantation industry.

“The hoteliers, they are brutal in their requirements, they ask for up to 25 years concessions on everything, they don’t want to pay no taxes, when their tax (exemptions) run out they come back and they insist you must renew it, and when you decide you don’t want to do it because you are trying to protect government’s revenue, they hold you hostage to fortune,” Browne said.

In his delivery, reminiscent of a summer fallout between the government and Sandals Resorts, the prime minister noted that hotel owners are demanding subsidies for electricity and other resources. He said they (hoteliers) do not want to pay on food and beverage, and “even the stationery that they import into this country they don’t want to pay anything on.”

Browne said his administration is pursuing a policy of entrepreneurial socialism, in which the government will partner with the private sector to establish businesses that, ordinarily, neither entity could pursue on its own.

He referred to the hotel sector as an ‘extractive industry’ and added that the only way to resolve it is for the government to have greater ownership. PM Browne said Antigua and Barbuda is leading the way in this regard, and is willing to risk finances to benefit the country and its people.

“And this is not a socialistic policy. It is very much capitalistic in which we are saying here, look, we will risk our capital. We will borrow the money, we will invest in these hotels and we will lease them to the private sector to operate.

“We don’t want to run hotels, we don’t have the expertise to run hotels, but we are creative enough to raise the funds so that we can build hotels for the benefit of the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” said the PM.

Browne noted that there must be some balance, and added that he is aware that investors must make a profit, which the government wants to see, but they must treat the government, the workers and other entities and stakeholders with respect. He said the government cannot preside over an economy in which hoteliers are treating the workers as commodities for exploitation.

According to PM Browne, if there is not a trickle down effect from a sector which contributes 75 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), “then you will end up with an under class and a super class.”

 

CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hey guy, haven’t u noticed? We already have an underclass and a superclass. What class of PM are u that you can’t see that?

  2. why don’t you just build it yourself.Oh wait that costs way to much just give us part of yours.
    Now you could raise there fees,but they will pass it along to paying guests till it becomes to
    expensive to come here
    Now a main part of the trouble is it’s hard to find a caribbean government that is not corrupt
    in some way,It’s a small island fix the roads , electricity,water it”s called infrastructure
    you can’t get that right ,but you want a resort

  3. World boss is the best P.M around the region……He feels out pain the hotel owners only look for themselves not for our island and he has the courage to stand up to them……I Sandals before and they restrict you do much that its impossible to work 2 jobs with them because they set their working time different from all the other hotels

  4. Other countries have tried this. Governments must not get into the business of private enterprise. Why? Because when losses are incurred there will be pressure to make up losses from the national budget. The business will not be nimble, government procurement rules will mean that management can’t make quick decisions especially during crises and shortages.

    If you have hotels with their concessions, at least the local staff can be trained and pick up and learn management skills for the future. If you bring in foreigners to run government hotels, they will use their people, no training will take place.

Comments are closed.