The gap between the rich and the poor is growing


By Makeda Mikael

COVID has totally exposed the protection given to the expatriate businesses while the local businesses are dying and no one in the government seems to know or even care.

This stems from the existing system which initiated the welcome package of incentives and concessions to draw business to our shores, and which the watch-dog organizations for fair trade have advised should now cease or be adapted for inclusion of the local entrepreneurs.

The old and outdated system gives away the entire shop which has allowed businesses to manipulate their accounting systems whereby the money which circulates in Antigua and Barbuda is minimal and barely covers the operational needs of their local company.

All surplus is kept abroad, and even the charges which banks could make from the payment of overseas bills is denied by the freedom given to expatriate companies to operate against the normal standards of good business.

The time has come for fair play in the business favours which the Cabinet and various Ministers in their own right give out on a daily basis to all and sundry if their melatonin is in the narrow spectrum of pale to white.

Instead of reducing the expat bounty by sharing the giveaways with local entrepreneurs, the government has begun giving away land to the Chinese to build strongholds like the gigantic fully secured Embassy, and worse the  multi-million dollar construction company near the stadium slated to beat down the bids of all local and regional construction companies.

It just does not make sense in this 21st century to be inviting businesses to our country which seek to monopolize the area business to the detriment of those who have no loop holes to hide their earnings from the tax collector.

The ignorance of our people on how some expatriate businesses work and are able to do most of their financial affairs abroad away from the watchful eyes of Customs and Inland Revenue must be overturned.  The cooperation which Ministers of Government and their staff extend to those whose methodology is to corrupt the systems which are in place to protect the country and its people’s patrimony must cease.

The country’s taxes are shrinking daily as the YIDAs and the other privileged expatriates enjoy the assets of our country paid for by the poor and unfortunate Antiguans who happen to make the paltry salary which is taxed and with deductions continuing at the supermarket and every expenditure on the island. It is not fair and any new administration must consider the people first and foremost.

With the advent of All-inclusive hotels, a scam developed whereby most of the tours being fully paid up abroad, and the ability to hoodwink the local tax collection system and transmit to Antigua’s coffers only what is needed for operations and the occasional contribution to charity to make a good impression.

The airlines also have their systems in place to undercut the taxes on fuel, the highest cost item used in aviation. The procedure involves brokering their fuel abroad whereby the real money margin stays outside of the countries of fuel uplift and does not impact their tax returns.

Our tax collection in this new normal post-COVID poverty-epidemic must wake up to the ripoff which the expatriate businesses are able to effect almost legally whilst dumping the country’s losses on the local entrepreneurs who are obliged to pay taxes and prove that they do.

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  1. “Antiguan free zone”

    Ms. Mikael hit the nail on the head. Under this useless ALP government, indigenous Antiguans need not apply. Time for change; sweep dem out!

    • @Mr Byam…while the ABLP is still enabling these #Pirates, the #StingRayLance Effect which they have being using to screw Antigua, Barbuda & REDONDA did not start with this present Ruling Arm of the Government. It began with the policies which came from the Halls and catacombs of Windsor Palace(the harlots throne) and the vatican(satans palace)many, many, many moons and generations ago.
      The #Bastards and #Prostitutes such as A, B & REDONDA are simply still reeling from the effects of being treated this way.

      Who bex dead to rass! Graveman dun did 3 hole. One fu me! One fu me Jumbee and one fu (whoebbah)!

  2. Well folks, ‘The Art of War’ is shadowed by, the Art of Deception.

    The Chinese Connection and those International conglomerates, to include those from the Arabian peninsula which have being given the #GreenLight for decades to screw the People is simply using, the #StingRayLance effect(the Lance is the penis which cannot be withdrawn from the vagina without excruciating pain or surgery).

  3. It is funny how they are so concerned about getting everybody vaccinated but don’t care about people who are displaced, not working to provide for their households, the rich getting richer through this plandemic and the poor getting poorer, nothing done to address these issues, and we are to believe they have our best interest at heart. The leaders have intentionally but other important issues of life to survive on the back burner

  4. So YIDA is cheating tax payers by spending millions, yet receiving no moneys in revenue hence has no profit? This is the kind of logic that causes readers to see the writer is high on something Lands worth no more than (5 acres or 217800 sq feet) 3 million, given to the Chinese to build an embassy compare to the hundreds of millions they have provided in grants? A Chinese company (CCECC) getting lands (5 acres again) , at market rate, in exchange for debt it incurred mostly during the UPP tenure, is wrong because they are Chinese? Seems the writer is unaware that without concessions, A&B becomes unattractive and the investment is then made in a more attractive jurisdiction. This then means more unemployed persons One understands why unemployment is not important to the writer but has to be a major factor in decisions taken by policy makers. In terms of the alleged tax cheaters, one can understand commissions and other fees for overseas marketing, however it has to be reasonable. Its however naive to argue that major investments in areas that call for more risk (eg major hotel), should call for more tax concessions than someone for eg simply selling clothes.. electronics they have imported from overseas, or someone operating a FBO.

    • Incentives are only required because the ALP is incompetent and has mismanaged the economy. We don’t need anymore hotels and no concessions should be given for tourism investments. We don’t need anymore foreign maids or gardeners. The PM should be working to diversify the economy away from tourism. Did he sleep thru the pandemic?

  5. I love the headline as it speaks the writer for sure. Having been fortunate enough to have an entire $25million property just been given to her. I mean how many of us are that lucky. And that entire deal has a smell to it. But this is Antigua, nothing will ever be investigated and things will go on and on as normal

    • @From The Sidelines…what, and please be specific, none of your #mumbo-jumbo crab rhetoric. Again, what does Makeda Michael’s inheritance has to do with the point which she’s making, regarding the “rich getting richer, and tge poor getting poorer?”
      I will tell you this sent express mail by Sting Ray Lance Express. If, her analysis was presented by the likes of Bodog aka Calvin Ayre, you’d be lapping it up with your forked tongue, like a dehydrated starving #PussyCat coming to lap up his milk, sweat and other bodily fluids, all while meowing, meow, meow, meow for more.

      Your comment is typical of one who has being indoctrinated, by way of the #GarratSyndrome.

      • Inheritance? Boss you are really uninformed, and have no problem stepping into dog poop. Do some research regarding the fight with her and Stanford. Check out her court pleading regarding said property

  6. The contents of this article is fully endorsed. Excellent synopsis of where we are today, this must come from the author’s eagle view.

    The main problem is we do not have a long term plan for Antigua and Barbuda that any political party’s goal when in office is to work towards the goal.

    Not individual philosophy that is killing us, we keep paying for the same things over and over and over just going in circles.

    From the authors vantage point how far away is the poor?

  7. Good to see the lady’s picture. I always wondered if this person was a man or a woman. Since I don’t know her, I wasn’t sure. Nice to see “her” picture. I didn’t know she was rich (see above posting by From the Sideline). I always thought this person was from the common people. “25 million property”, if true, is as upper class as you can get in this country. I’m confused.

    • Then why argue with straw? Why not just let it blow away? Unless its only your dream that its stray, but you recognize the reality.

      While the writer arguing about inequality, there are persons facing starvation and would see the jobs those investments provide as manner from heaven. Its the UPP who he supported who passed the tourism and special incentive act, which gives as much as a 25 year corp tax waiver to persons who have invested some 100 million EC. Byam back then was in the Luxury compartment of that express train, he did not know headed off a cliff. Even after it went off the cliff he was still there advocating for them. Fact is many spouting about inequality don’t care about poor people, but they are simply jealous of the more wealthy. How else can you explain dismissing the importance of providing them the ability of providing for themselves. Jobs not important though they help to put food on the table. Lets instead focus on running away the persons who provide said jobs because they are too wealthy Let poor people starve, while the local rich drink their wine and are themselves tax delinquent (check how much the lawyers, accountants etc paying). . A measured approach is best.

      • You sound nice.

        I’m sure those jobs that are being offered are akin to picking up pennies on a train track.

        Why work for slave wages? Turn these “investors” aka “VULTURE CAPITALISTS” foreign nationals with little interest in improving the quality of life for locals back out to those foreign shores they are so fond of!

        If they can’t build a sustainable business without supreme concessions it’s clear that the business isn’t designed to be profitable.

        • If they wanted to pay “slave wages” (whatever the hell that is since slaves weren’t paid wages) they would not come to an island with one of the highest wage rates in this region. One that is highly unionized. You seem unaware that SLU for eg has no Mincom wage hence its not unusual for persons to be paid less than 4 ec per hour vs the minimum wage rate in ANU of 8.20. In Dominica minimum wage is 4.00 per hour, in Grenada it can be as low as as 4.37 an hour if you are a cleaner (depends on the category). Guy I and many other’s had the benefit of working at hotels. This experience helped us learn that there are jobs beyond menial jobs at the hotels: There are accountants at the hotels, PR persons, marketing persons, chefs (who make more money than some bank managers), IT persons, Maintenance personnel, grounds keepers (with the senior ones again taking home more money than bank tellers), Human resource department… Guy you need to rid yourself of ignorant talk, made worse by the fact that you can’t use alcohol as an excuse

      • @Tenman aka #daChameleon… to be forewarned is to be forearmed.
        The warning was sent forth regarding the Cat 5 hurricane.
        The warning was sent forth regarding PPP – Piss Poor Planning in terms of diversifying the Nations economy, to include agriculture. Gaston Browne – PM is getting the picture with his agricultural ventures(the Swastika at the crossroad is pointing to HEMP and marijuana as a part of this venture).
        The warning was sent forth about the proliferation of street level gangs to include pedophilia, human trafficking, prostitution etc.

        Yes the Nation does not have the severe level of crime and criminal activities as other jurisdictions. However, this is a promise not a #WARNING. The Chinese investments from their embassy fortress to Yida’s private development to include gun/weapons assembly, pharmaceutical companies etc will bring a storm worst than any Cat 5 or Cat 7(they’re coming) hurricanes, 7 – 9.5 earthquakes, or even COVID-19 once, such things as guns to opiods to fentanyl start appearing in mass quantities on Our streets.
        There is a calm after the storms,
        this is natural. but woe unto the Nation for there are no calm after those guns, opioids, fentanyl etc. hit the streets. So, take their investments and keep burying your head under, in the sand because of temporary/short term employment opportunities. Again, to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

        • You can see all of that from your loft in the USA, while to your mind, we who who are in it are blind. A&B economy is diversified. Absent your logic is even more diversified economies than ours have been negatively impacted by covid eg Germany. Seems you forget we were also into financial services, real estate, stem cell etc. However, tourism will be king for decades, due to our natural beauty. Anyway boss don’t mistake me for Lovell, Persons tend to be very clear where I stand on issues. I have worked in the tourism sector. Yes I am aware of some of the issues, but overall we have benefited from tourism. Standard of living for Antiguan’s have increased over the years. Issue for you is like a unrepentant prodigal, you need to see A&B in a negative light. Like Cain, you made a half hearted effort hence your sacrifice was rebuffed. Boss I will continue to invest in A&B, the region not only because its home, but also because I owe it to my ancestors.

          • @Tenman…
            …pretence, ’tis worst than suicide!
            …for, in its clutches reside #FoolishPride
            …and, from this you cannot hide!
            … thus, take heed! Yes indeed!
            …the truth still breathe! Still breathe.
            …since, this is not about me
            …nor, where I abide!
            …so, please get this straight
            …and, you’ll definitely see
            …’tis about #OneOhEight – 108!

            …Money brings comfort!
            …If, this is what you sought.
            …Peace of mind brings happiness
            …and, therein reside
            …the Ignorance of Bliss
            …not that, of #FoolishPride!

  8. No surprise at all. When you have people in politics for financial enrichment this is the outcome.

    All these criminals need to be removed from politics permanently regardless of party.

  9. Can someone tell me when there ever was a time when the rich were not getting richer and the poor not getting poorer. I mean in this Capitalistic way of life we want to believe that everyone have a change to get rich. And some are so lucky to cross over from poor to rich. Our PM is one, and certainly Makeda. One just have to look at her lifetme history. From Raggs to Riches. It is ironic therefore when a rich person makes the pronouncement as if it is something so bad that the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. The question should be asked. What has she done about that. Has she been giving away some of her riches to the poor. I know the PM has. And her neighbour Mr. Ayre of whom she has nothing good to say has been more than a philantropist. His latest donation was to St. Vincent and the Grenedines to assist them with the issues they now face having the vulcano erupted on them. And not to mention his donation to Covid -19 relief and the purchase of PPE’s for MSJMC. I mean when my countrymen/women want to criticize these foreignors who have shown their love for this country with tangible monitary evidence. I must wonder about them. Especially when the business they are in are fully dependent on these very same foreignors who come here in their private jet and stay in their luxery homes Mill Reef Club and Jumby Bay on a monthly basis are providing hundreds of thousands of dollars on groceries for the needy in Antigua and Barbuda. And yes they are looking for publicity when they do these things. Things are being done quietly behind the seen with no politician involved. And they do all of this out of the goodness of their heart. No one is forcing them to do so. But I guess Makeda is looking for attention. But I wonder why not seek attention by doing something constructive and uplifting to the people of whom you are one. From whence you came from. I will never forget the time when you were Lester’s right hand woman. Just like Asot you used and abuse that privilege and then turned around and become the man’s enimy. Bitter people will die in their bitterness.

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