PM says tourists threatening to withhold tax over beach closure

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne says that he was told by a hotelier that guests are threatening to withhold paying government taxes over the decision by the Government to close all beaches over the Easter Holiday.

Browne said he dared them to do it.

The Prime Minister told his programme of Pointe FM on Saturday that he will not be intimidated by local hoteliers adding that he is not in any of their pockets.

He called on hoteliers to cooperate with government’s measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The closure of beaches during the long weekend has been very unpopular among visitors who travelled to the island to enjoy its 365 beaches but were unable to do so.

Over the weekend, Browne said that the Coast Guard had to be called in for some hoteliers who were encouraging their guests to go on the beach.

Beaches have been closed since April 1 and will remain so until Tuesday, under emergency regulations to control the spread of COVID-19.

In defending the decision, Browne said “the closure of the beaches is absolutely necessary.”

He revealed however that some hoteliers were not cooperating with the regulations.

“I mean unfortunately we had hoteliers who were encouraging their guests to violate the laws of the country.

“And I know the Coast Guard would have called them up and asked them to cease and desist,” Browne told Pointe FM.

“They are the ones who are creating the problem by encouraging their guests to violate our laws,” he added.

The decision to close beaches has been unpopular but the Prime Minister says he is standing behind the decision “and it will not change.”

 

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26 COMMENTS

  1. There should be no “cease and desist.” Period! It should be arrest, charge, fine(money or jail).
    This is why many are saying that the laws pertaining to the #Curfew are applied in a #DoubleStandard manner.

    …PM Browne
    …#talkREAL
    …#liveREAL.

    • Why the hell do we need tourists in Antigua when our past red and blue governments have diversified our economy to such a scale that our non-tourist economy is a massive 15% to 20% of GDP! I am sure we can all have our income reduced by 80% rather than have the white devils on our beaches where it is apparently swarming with Covid on holidays. We can print our own money with Gaston on the $100 dollar and Jamal/Lovell on the $50 and we’ll be just fine. Just ask Zimbabwe, Italy, Argentina etc. how that worked out.

      We need to challenge our Government on what really matters such as our freedom and rights….not blame the (white) tourists who are the easy pickings for the mentally under-developed.

      I think we have enough policemen earning 100% of their pay during Covid (while hotel and restaurant salaries have been cut by over 60% and some earning even less) to do simple beach patrols to remind people about social distancing etc. during the holidays. For example, can one police vehicle not patrol Dickenson Bay, Runway, Fort and Jabberwock? Is this f—ing rocket science rather that shutting the beaches down?

      So why the need to go after the only industry that puts food on the table?

      • The same person that is saying that is the same person that wants the tourist to come because of the economic. Please make up your mind.

      • “White devils” ? The tourist are coming from them, that’s how your economy is good, without tourist you are FCK

  2. IT WILL NOT CHANGE !! SO SAYS THE MOUSTACHE . One that fashion himself after one of the most NOTORIOUS and EVIL men to ever WALK THE EARTH

  3. I asked the questions a few days ago…if I could join my tourists friends at the hotel and have a party on the beach.
    Well… do you think tourists would come to the island to remain locked up in their rooms. Heck no….the whole concept of Caribbean tourism is about beaches and sight-seeing.
    No hotel owner would actually attempt to prevent their guests from going onto the beaches. It is all about the $$$$$$$.
    Until the people wake up and get real with the corruption that rules this nation….then the status quo will remain.
    It is a two-tier system. One for the rich and politically connected. The other for the poor, common man.
    Who can deny this truth ? Who can say otherwise ?
    Well…I guess only the fools can do so.
    I emphasize once again: that Antigua is a doomed nation. Its day of destruction is near upon it. All because of a people who happily enjoy corruption and evil.

    WORLD “CRYSIS”: ANTIGUA:- YOUR CORRUPTION WILL BE YOUR DESTRUCTION !

  4. Gaston is showing how dumb he is. But he is doing UPP a favor and soon he is gone! The beach thing is so dumb……but he has a dumb CMO and an ever dumber Minister of Health advising! People go to the beach in the open air what virus spreads like this but instead they group up at their homes in closed spaces. Dumb and Dumber. We will vote him out soon as soon as he call the next election.

  5. It’s time to lock some of them up. They disrespecting the nation. I don’t only mean black asses. I mean fat white asses too!!!! The PM is right and the people are with him on this one. Make room at 1735. The law is for the lawless.

    • The PM don’t know what he doing…..he only thinking how to make himself richer and his family richer. I work in a hotel I have kids to feed…..if the tourist don’t come my kids don’t eat. They come for our beaches and not to be locked up in their rooms. Can you imagine how things going to go when they start spreading the word. We lock down the beaches……maybe you have money but I have to work to feed my family……tourist not spreading Covid…..locals who have no concern for others spreading Covid…..get the fat police and defense force to do their jobs….patrol the beaches and look for violators but don’t lock down the beaches…it is the easy way out so police can drive around in the cars we pay for carry their women here and there. Our PM and his minister are just lazy…look how fat the AG and Weston are….the good life….while my kids have it hard to get food….shame on you PM Shame on you!

      • I don’t know about him trying to get richer due to Covid but otherwise you couldn’t have said it better! Respect and you have my sympathies….

  6. You are inviting Tourists to come to Antigua.You are telling the World.You are opened for business.Then when they arrived.You are telling them.They cannot go to the Beaches.Why do you think they came to Antigua for in the first instance.For the damn Beaches.You cannot have it both ways.There goes the Tourism Industry.Those persons would be saying negative things about Antigua on Social Media.It could have been avoided. If you had one set of rules covering all aspects in the beginning.There were too many ambiguities in your information.Now you are turning it around on the Hotel owners.Gaston Browne,when are going to take full responsibility for anything.You are the one making the decisions and you screwed up royally.

    • I don’t think it was ambiguous at all. ALL BEACHES ARE CLOSED DURING THE LONG WEEKEND. That applies to everyone….locals and tourists.

      • @Applies to some/all:
        In my opinion.You are full of dung.There were mixed messages sent to visitors coming into Antigua.In the past the Beaches were closed on Holidays.However,the Tourists were allowed on the Beaches.While the locals could not go to the same Beaches.Chances are they could be charged and or be arrested if caught.Now this past Easter Weekend.The Beaches were closed to the Hotel Guests on said weekend.However,that message was not clearly communicated to those visitors.I have some friends.They came into Antigua and could not go to the Beach over the weekend.They were at the Hotel Beach.The Coast Guard told them to leave the Beach.They called me,I explained to them the reasons for the closure.As best as I could.Needless to say they were not very pleased for being kept in the dark.

    • Why the profanity? Are you uneducated or something. You certainly are not “Sensible”. You making a joke of yourself.

  7. There must always be a scapegoat. It was not me…..yeah….pass the blame, Mr Prime minister. It was the same issue at the beginning; in the garden of Eden.
    When will a people open their minds and face truth smack straight in the eyes and admit that truth is truth no matter how naked it is.
    But NO! The people prefer lies, and deception.
    Antiguans are asleep with their eyes wide open. A corrupt people who have surrendered their will to POLITRICKIANS.
    A people who have lost their way. A people who love and prefer corruption, greed and immorality. It is a failed nation.
    The politrickians continue to deceive the people with their woefully, empty promises.
    They will all answer to the HIGHEST POWER; soon and very soon.
    To the ones who sit behind the microphones at radio station every day…. look into your hearts. Conscience….. if there is any left. Yes. ..consider your ways…. You corrupt your soul for some material loot that will soon vanish away. You sold your soul to the evil forces. Now you are trapped. You went where the money is. However, not even that can save you.
    Not only you…but also…the religious misleaders, the statutory board members, the trade union leaders, the taxi/bus drivers, the business community, the hotel owners, the air traffic controller, the calypsonians, the civil servants, permanent secretaries, lawyers, bar association, retired civil servant, ……and the list goes on.
    It covers the entire nation. CORRUPTION ! GREED ! SELFISHNESS!
    The nation is is in spiral saga doomed for destruction. The hand writing is pellucid on the wall.
    The only hope is a change of heart. Not the Smarty Junior’s change of heart. That too was corruption.
    The only change can come from the CREATOR.

    Hope is not lost, but hope requires sacrifices. You have to turn away from the corruption. Is it too sweet that you prefer to gain a few temporary loot and lose your soul ?
    The choice is yours Antiguans ! No one can decide for you. At the end of the day; everyone MUST and WILL give account for himself/herself. Whether you believe it or not: THAT IS TRUTH. PURE NAKED TRUTH.

    WORLD “CRYSIS”: ONLY TWO CHOICES IN LIFE: “TO BE OR NOT TO BE”

    TO BE IS “RIGHTEOUSNESS”

    NOT TO BE IS “WRONGTOEOUSNESS”

    CHOOSE ONE !

  8. Dictator and traitor Gaston always talking shit. He is not serious about stopping the COVID. All he is concerned about is tourist dollars. What tourist would want to come here and NOT GO TO THE BEACHES? Dictator and traitor Gaston should have closed the borders a long time ago to prevent and control COVID getting here but he continues to practice his creative enrichment schemes. Everyone here has taken a pay cut but not a single minister has.

    What’s the next step, raise taxes so they can continue to get paid? Explain how that will work when people already can’t pay the current taxes due to all the current events but dictator and traitor Gaston and his cronies expect us to pay higher taxes?

    This garbage needs to be removed from office.

    Where are the murderers of Nigel Christian?
    Where are the murderers of Nigel Christian?
    Where are the murderers of Nigel Christian?
    Where are the murderers of Nigel Christian?

  9. See the problem is that for far too long hotels have been selling the use of the beach along with the hotel. That is why tourists and hotels both think that they can have exclusive access to various beaches on the island.

    Anyone booking a hotel stay is booking the hotel room and amenities the hotels have to offer. The use of the beach is free to anyone on the island – both locals and visitors. What if you booked your stay and it rained and rained for your entire stay….would you threaten to withhold payment or hold the hotel responsible? In these times of COVID when beaches are closed during public holidays, it is the responsibility of the HOTEL to advise their guests that the beach is off limits. Put in on your website and post it around the hotel. Any one breaking the rules should be charged.

    We all moan and groan that the tourists are getting special treatment and the locals aren’t……now all and sundry must comply, we still moan and groan. The beach isn’t going anywhere. It was there long before any of us and will be there long after all of us.

    How on earth can they withhold the tax when it is paid up front and at the time of booking?

  10. Everyone knows the government is in the hotelier’s pockets. Look at the quarantine system: Antiguan nationals forced to wear a shackle and quarantine for 2 weeks, tourists funneled into the big resorts and told they can do as they like, no restrictions. It is clear this system was devised by big hotels to keep their profits flowing and it’s the local population who have had to pay, both by being forced to quarantine and through tourists spreading the virus. Now we have hundreds of cases and tragically nearly 30 deaths. Nobody should be voting for this corrupt govt again, bit I’m not sure the opposition would be be any better.

  11. The Prime Minister is trying to protect the country from a serious out break

    Wake up People

    COVID is no joke

  12. Thats right Gaston. Shut down all of them. Lock up all the tourist who defied your rules. Show them who is the dictator in chief.

  13. I remember spending two days in Antigua after taking two negative covid test in two days before travelling to antigua they said i must quarantine for 14 days.make no sense taking the test .dont waste your time and money to go there.STOP GIVING PPL THE WRONG IMPRESSION ABOUT COMING TO ANTIGUA….WHO SO EVER IN CHARGE NEED TO STOP BS..

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