Chastanet: Sandals feud with Antigua & Barbuda unfortunate

CBC:-St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet has described as unfortunate, the apparent feud between Sandals Resorts International and the Government of Antigua and Barbuda adding that he is not unduly worried about his government getting involved in a similar squabble.

“I am very sorry about what is taking place in Antigua and Barbuda. I would like to think that we would not find ourselves in that position.”

Chastanet whose Government recently announced plans for the construction of a fourth Sandals Hotel was asked to comment on the disagreement at a news conference.

He told reporters that he harbours no concerns of a row with the hotel chain and his government, taking into consideration the economic power the Chairman of Sandals Gordon “Butch” Stewart appears to have in St. Lucia, being the owner of three hotels and a golf course.

However, he said he was saddened that the relationship between the government of Antigua and Barbuda and a private entity like Sandals had reached that point.

The row between the government of Antigua and Barbuda and Sandals Resorts began last year when the Antiguan government and Stewart engaged in a public exchange over Sandals’ retention of sales tax income, via what the Antiguan government called “an unlawful agreement”.

Sandals collects an Antigua and Barbuda Sales Tax (ABST) from its customers and, according to the Antiguan Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, keeps 65 per cent of the yields.

The Antigua and Barbuda government is trying to change this but Stewart is claiming it means the rescinding of a concession agreement with Sandals.

The agreement was signed in 2009 with the now opposition United Progressive Party (UPP) administration. However, Browne’s administration made it clear to SRI about its unwillingness to continue with the arrangement. The hotel claimed that this was a blatant breach of the agreement and called on the Antiguan government to revisit its decision.

Sandals subsequently informed the Antiguan government on July 14 that it would close the 380-room Sandals Grand hotel for three months from September 20 to December 17 for essential maintenance work.

But Browne claimed that SRI’s decision to close the hotel was sabotage and an “act of hostility” designed to win tax concessions from the government.

“Some people might say they (Sandals) have four properties and can hold you accountable. I look at it from the perspective that Sandals has a substantive amount of its overall global inventory in St. Lucia. So I think the likelihood of them doing something similar in Antigua — I’m not so sure that’s possible,” he said.

Chastanet said his administration will not get into that type of disagreement with any private sector investment and, hopefully, would avoid such agreements from happening. He said private sector and public sector partnerships are needed.

“It is important to note that we cannot run away from what the facts are, which is this: it’s a very competitive world today. The normal order you will see in the world has dissipated. It really has been every man for himself.

“Every day you see countries pillaging other country’s investors, offering better tax regime or doing things to get people to come to their country. That is the world we are living in where we have to fight very hard to keep the number of investors that we have and to attract new ones,” Chastanet said.

10 Comments

  1. T frank
    August 13, 2017 at 9:24 am

    No we wouldn’t because you are kissing their a….s

  2. Bambi
    August 13, 2017 at 9:33 am

    So because of that Mr.P. m. Sandals can and will get every concessions from you. Even duty cars.And my P.m why were you crying when talking about Butch? Is he really your paternal father in truth?

  3. Anonymous
    August 13, 2017 at 10:51 am

    Hahaha..Lucians lucians..one of a kind….Unique people

    1. The Crow
      August 13, 2017 at 1:43 pm

      The Hurricane Allen show . . . What an &$$ho13!!!

  4. life
    August 13, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    why is it the prime Minister from a next country telling Antigua and Barbuda prime minister how to run the country come on have respect our prime minister nobody tell you how to run your country please

    1. wow
      August 14, 2017 at 6:33 am

      Chastanent was asked to comment and all he did was comment and said it was unfortunate. If I read carefully, at no time did Chantanent tell Antigua what to do or not do.

  5. Anon1
    August 14, 2017 at 7:54 am

    Here’s another example of our “Not too bright PM” displaying his dullness!

    And our journalist not really being tactful with the questions and wording of the questions they pose.

    At no point in the above did he mention feeling “sorry” for the STAFF of the hotel.

    The majority of the gibberish quoted above purely centred round Sandals being an employer in St Lucia and “Not too bright PM” not finding himself in a similar position.

    Lucians we really need to read in between the lines of our “Not too bright PM”

    The last paragraph of the above says a hell of a lot. There’s linkage with DSH and horse track.

    He’s so scared of loosing the supposed “Investor” that he will fund the Horse Track through the sale of our passports and give away mass swathes of our Land.

  6. Anon1
    August 14, 2017 at 7:55 am

    Here’s another example of our “Not too bright PM” displaying his dullness!

    And our journalist not really being tactful with the questions and wording of the questions they pose.

    At no point in the above did he mention feeling “sorry” for the STAFF of the hotel.

    The majority of the gibberish quoted above purely centred round Sandals being an employer in St Lucia and “Not too bright PM” not finding himself in a similar position.

    Lucians we really need to read in between the lines of our “Not too bright PM”

    The last paragraph of the above says a hell of a lot. There’s linkage with DSH and horse track.

    He’s so scared of loosing the supposed “Investor” that he will fund the Horse Track through the sale of our passports and give away mass swathes of our Land.

    1. Anonymous
      August 14, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      Well I would rather deal with a not to bright crook than a bright one. KA is a very bright crook but totally visionless.

  7. Mel
    August 14, 2017 at 9:26 am

    the not too bright PM should keep quiet….He is am embrassment to this country!

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