Pay up or leave PM tells Digicel and Flow

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne today put telecommunication providers Digicel and Flow on notice that his government will not honour agreements signed under the former United Progressive Party administration.

Speaking in parliament today, Browne who is also minister responsible for finance, did not reveal the exact nature of the agreements but said under them, the two telecoms providers were void of the payment of  taxes.

The prime minister told lawmakers that he foresees a legal battle developing over the issue but insisted that the companies must pay.

“If they want to go court let them go to court. For example, we have two telecommunication companies that would have entered agreements with the former administration that resulted in the exemption in the payment of taxes for a number of years,” Browne disclosed.

“Since we have been In government for the last four years we have not collected any taxes from them and if we did it would have been negligible,” he told fellow lawmakers.

“And I am saying that those usurious arrangements must come to and end,” the prime minister insisted.

He asked Senior Minister Sir Robin Yearwood to meet with the two providers “to let them know we not honouring those agreements. Bring them to and end.”

The PM said he is not seeking retroactive payments “but we all know they were usurious.”

“They must pay their taxes. So they must make extortionate profits and repatriate those profits and leave the country broke?”

“We call on Digicel and Flow to pay their taxes and if they don’t want to pay they can leave and I am absolutely serious,” the prime minister added.

He made the remarks while debating the Tax Administration and Procedure Bill 2018.

The bill is expected to help improve the collection of existing taxes through modernization and enforcement.

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34 COMMENTS

    • That is why he is loved by his people. He says it like it is without fear or favor. Which means no body have him in their pocket. Butch tried but you see how that worked out. We will see who’s next

  1. This don’t making any sense what the PM is saying here. I paid my FLOW monthly Internet bill and a government tax is charge every time. Is the PM telling me that whenever I pay my monthly bill including the tax, the tax is not pay into Inland Revenue? Mr. PM please come with the breakdown and more information of what you’re trying to say here.

    • The tax consumers pay is different that companies taxes. So sales tax and business tax 2 different tax.. thoses company should pay there taxes.. if you open a business in Antigua you would have to pay taxes for you business to the country of Antigua or the government of Antigua. Which ever way it goes. So Antiguan business them a pay tax but the outsider business and companies nah pay none.

    • Yes that is what happening. They are not paying no taxes but yet they are still charging us. We must wake up. I already discontinued my services because it they are killing us.

      • You also seem not to understand the difference between the two taxes. ABST and Corporation Tax

    • He is clearly saying that those companies are tax exempted, meaning that they don’t bay taxes from their earnings. The taxes that you see on your bills are coming from you, and not them.

    • Don’t you know Sandals’ guest were still being charged tax even though the government was not getting its fair share?

    • Mary-gene what the PM is talking about is the Corporation Tax. Not the ABST you have to pay. These companies are all enjoying Tax free holidays of sometimes 25 years. Especially Hotels.

  2. They ALL con the people in usurious ways so they know the other. I’m sure some under-the-counter deal will resolve this.

    • The Hotels have a special incentive act that allows them tax holidays if they make certain amount of investments.

  3. Good riddance to bad rubbish, if they do decide to leave. Not only are they not paying taxes, they do not provide customers with value for money (eg 4G is mostly slow Edge, Telephone calls constantly drop, calling their customer service if you do get through to their foreign rep,, the information given is mostly wrong)

    • They are not providing us with value for our money. Digicel internet slow and as you top up sometimes I hardly used my phone and it finish quick

    • So you think if these companies leave Inet has the bandwidth to accommodate all their users???

  4. Gaston needs a vocabulary lesson. Usury applies to interest rates, not taxes. The courts will definitely straighten him out. Pointe FM will finish this guy, he just keeps chatting nonsense.

  5. Hey we would not miss them …especially digicel i am paying 159 a month for what the data is crap try and get on to their system after 4am and see what happens the system is always down y pay…..and y not gove unlimited data y ration us it’s no water the system is poor already ..u kmow how many days we go without ut working thanks gaston let them pay

  6. So it wasn’t Sandals alone that got a sweetheart deal. These inept UPP people really sold out Antigua.
    Time to take our country back. Mr. PM please do not stop there. Reveal everyone of those sweetheart deal and make them public so the public can see the nonsense Lovell was doing. We need to know.
    Freedom of Information Act demands that.

  7. what a joke country
    gaston done give way all our coastland and tax waivers to Yida now his CIP money run out he shaking down flow and Digicel and blaming UPP bad deals
    Why didn’t you put them on notice in July 2014??? They weren’t paying taxes then , what changed

    Oh yes Canada visa restrictions mean CIP dead
    I hear they selling passport for bitcoin now, how long before you can trade in your old car and get a passport
    Joke country run by joke government hahahahaha

  8. It’s OK for them to leave an put people out of worker. Some real idiots agreeing to foolishness.

    • Work is not a virtue, it is not necessary to sustain life, it is only relevant because the so CALLED INDEPENDENT LEADERS chose a stupid democratic system to govern the country without truly understanding the economic dynamics of the system that is you are either a provider distributor or a beggar pauper.

  9. Well firstly if Digicel and Flow take their business elsewhere alot of people will be jobless. and if you say taking taxes from these businesses would be ‘negligible’ there is no need for Propaganda My Prime Minister

    • Perhaps you have forgotten the restructuring exercise the underwent just a year or two three ago. Actually it started earlier. The layed off almost ALL the Antiguan to management staff. Then they went to the lower line staff. All because they wanted to cut the higher paid salaries we had than in Jamaica. I mean not a drum was heard but many that lost their jobs than are now still without a job. The higher paid and educated ones were lucky they started their own business and some Digicel took over. But the less educated once are still struggling. Everything is done out of Jamaica these days.

  10. The Prime Minister is correct. A proper audit need to be done on these companies especially FLOW. They charge wholesale roaming rates with applicable government taxes yet these taxes are not paid into the Government coppers. instead, FLOW pockets the taxes which are paid thru clearinghouses as revenue to the company. Also, FLOW has major problems of looping data on their networks. This is especially true on the roaming side of the business since some roaming partners set up probes to monitor the usages on their networks and have found that FLOW were sending more data usage than what the probes are sending. Hence, there are some distrust amongst roaming partners with FLOW. This is also happening on local call data records. Audits should be done on special roaming rates between US partners and FLOW. There are cases where ATT and FLOW negotiate special roaming rates for 10 cents or less per megabyte. Thats right! Thats 1,048576 @ 10 cents! Please audit those special rates agreements and you will see! But anyone who has access to the GSM infocenter can also view the standard rates on the AA14.

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