St Lucia government called on to acquire equity to secure unpaid taxes

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By Caribbean News Now contributor

CASTRIES, St Lucia — The Lucian People’s Movement (LPM) said that the government of Saint Lucia’s options to forego millions and discount outstanding payments to the Inland Revenue are a cause for concern.

According to the LPM, instead of losing EC$32.6 million in outstanding hotel accommodation tax (HAT) payments paid by visitors and not remitted to the Inland Revenue, the government has missed an opportunity to be partial owners and acquire equity interests in hotels and business consortiums in the form of preferred shares on behalf of the people of Saint Lucia.

The LPM stated that the primary objectives of this proposal are as follows:

• Establish on-location oversight for day-to-day operations, and participate in high-level decision making

• Play a sensible role in assisting hotels and business consortiums to achieve compliance and pay their taxes on time

• Upon meeting objectives, turn over government’s preferred shares to the entities in question, with interest, payable to the Inland Revenue

• Should all else fail and liquidation be required, give the government and people of Saint Lucia the first piece of the pie

The LPM called upon the government to protect the interest of the people of Saint Lucia, by initiating serious measures in the collection of hotel taxes, which is vital to powering the engine of economic growth.

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