PM Accuses Some Hoteliers Of Robbing State Of Revenue, Promises Forensic Audit

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Prime Minister Gaston Browne is pointing fingers squarely at “some hoteliers” as he seeks to explain why revenues are not coinciding with the country’s economic growth.

“There has not been a corresponding increase in revenue, government’s revenue has been flat,” said Browne who is also finance minister.

In 2018, the World Bank said Antigua & Barbuda recorded growth of 4.9 percent.

“Our revenue as a percent of GDP has fallen, from 17 to about 15 percent. It shows what is happening here is that people are actually robbing the revenue,” Browne said on radio.

He added, “I half suspect that some hoteliers in particular are manipulating the figures and they not paying the real or right amount of ABST and that is speculation but the fact that there has been a 13 percent increase in arrivals and revenue remains flat, something is not right.”

The prime minister and finance minister said forensic auditors will be brought into Antigua to confirm what is going.

“We are bringing in some forensic accountants and we will be going after them. So I want to say to our hoteliers if you are robbing the revenues as we believe you are we will make bygones be bygones. But I want you tell you from next year you have to ensure that you do things properly and that you can account for every single cent of taxes that are due,” he said.

“Because we will be bringing in foreign auditors to audit your books to make sure there is no violation,” he announced.

Browne said revenue remains flat and revenue is needed to fund infrastructure and other expenses, “and as a result our overall funding gap would of increased by about a 100 million dollars which means now going into 2020 we have to make some adjustments.”

He said these adjustments “will impact on the wider population.” Browne said tightening up will affect concessions on motor vehicles and homes.

“We will have a new concessions regime going into 2020,” he announced without giving more details.

 

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10 COMMENTS

  1. Hon.Gaston Browne I hope the Government will hire some FORENSIC ACCOUNTANTS to go after These businesses that are not reporting Their proper revenues. The time has come for the investigation.

  2. You can see a 13% increase in arrival and still flat line on the revenue because these arrivals are millennials and they are booking on Air BnB because it’s cheaper than staying in an All inclusive Resort or Hotel.

  3. Yes we need forensic audits but do not stop there
    All the ministries should be audited to plug the leaks and increase efficiency
    school ebooks,
    Customs
    Solid waste
    no bid contracts to government ministers and their cronies,
    the sudden accumulation of wealth for all civil servants,
    how many overnight millionaires we have in cabinet are they paying their fair share on their wealth,
    diplomatic passports for cash,
    all them duty free Porches on our pothole filled roads.
    YIDA

    My question is Why aren’t office rentals put out to tender like any other government contract and are the property owners paying property taxes or ABST

    Why should the proprietors that rent to government enjoy tax free status and the businesses that rent to white people pay tax on their room rates. Everyone should pay occupancy taxes.

    As it stands the Porsche and BMW owners are just as bad or worse than the hoteliers and the fact that the finance ministry or PM enabled the former to stiff the country and decides who pay their fair share and who shorts the government of revenues does not and should not make a difference. The government cannot decide to give its friends a pass on paying their share of taxes and then pick on our lifeblood industry – the hoteliers , to pick up the tab when the bill is due.
    Corruption is a tax – probably the highest form of taxation we have in Antigua and Barbuda and that tax bill is the first and most forensic audit that needs and has to be done.

    • I have being making the point, of “forensics audits,” by independent contractors for sometime now. It definitely MUST be across the board, to include ALL Public/Government Agencies on a regular basis.
      Every three(3) years in my opinion.

    • …and, ALL Public/Government agencies MUST be included, as well. As, a matter of fact, this should be on a regular basis, every three(3) years.
      Accountability matters across the ‘warri’ board!

  4. The PM can start by bringing back income tax on individuals making over $3000 per month and on corporations. Ever since the his government did away with income tax they have been bawling for money. The rich people in Antigua, including all the ministers, should be contributing to the country. This government has no money to run the country and has resorted to begging and running up foreign debt which they cannot repay. The poor man doesn’t benefit from the elimination of income tax because they never paid any in the first place but they are certainly paying more for goods and services.
    Bring in the forensic accountants because you will need them every year and pay them millions of dollars.

  5. What the hell is wrong with HAROLD LOVELL . Is He RETARDED ? Harold please GO away, nobody want to see nor hear you. You have destroyed The UPP , THE FAITHFUL NATIONAL and also THE MOVEMENT . Just to let you know that HON.GASTON BROWNE will be Prime Minister for the next 30 years.

    When will you disclose your slate for 2023. I heard Sean Bird is on your slate. I believe Harold Lovell , Sean Bird and Vere Bird 111 should start a political party called “THE LOSERS PARTY “. You Guys DO NOT have any shame.

    Reply

  6. I believe the PM made this treat before to Sandals. However nothing ever came out of it. I understand a few Antiguan accountants were hired put up in an office doing nothing and getting paid.
    The PM means well, but some of the people around him just not pulling their weight
    I believe Antigua has more than enough qualified accountants that can review and audit those books for far less.

    • The question begs; “but some of the people around him just not pulling their weight,” then whose weight are they pulling, Donald Trump?(facetious).
      Seriously thou, again, the question begs, why is it that Public Sector workers are allowed to under perform in their duties, and think that it’s OK?
      What happens to the review process regarding, evaluation and performance, which would lead to reprimands, suspension and or termination?
      This type of behavior, in the Public Sector, and it didn’t begin with this present Government has to be addressed, in a serious manner, in the Public Sector, if the Nation is to achieve the “Powerhouse” status.
      This type of behavior, and the attitude that, “dem cyan fire me” is not condoned, in the Private Sector. Why is it condoned, in the Public Sector?
      I guarantee you Bodog does not tolerate it, neither does Sandals, the same with the other major hotels and the banks.
      Fire dem ras, wen dem nar perform dem duty!

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