SLP blasts the $24 million Sandals Tax exemption as cruel and malicious

The main Opposition St Lucia Labour Party has criticised a government decision to grant an estimated $24 million tax exemption to Sandals Resorts International, describing the decision as a cruel and malicious act to deny St Lucia the revenue it wold have earned.

Opposition MP, Ernest Hilaire is calling on the government to explain why it approved a 100% exemption from the payment of withholding tax for the hotel chain. The exemption covers the period 2001-2009.

The government’s decision came to light after a confidential cabinet conclusion dated August 21, 2017 was leaked on social media.

Hiliare, who is also the Opposition spokesman on investment and business, described the exemption as extraordinary and very unusual.

“Whereas the Act provides for government to exempt the payment of taxes when it is just and necessary, we cannot see how in this instance such a decision by the government of St Lucia is just and necessary,” Hilaire said.

Hilaire  called on the government to clarify the reason behind its decision and he questioned whether other hotels and businesses on the island will also benefit.

“We need the government to make a very clear statement to tell us on what basis such a decision was made and also to tell us whether other hoteliers and business places will also be provided with such an exemption. These are critical facts that the government need to provide,” Hilaire added.

Hilaire also took issue with statement by the Minister in the Ministry of Finance Ubaldus Raymond that the money was not owed to St Lucia.

“If the monies are not owed, why provide an exemption? Because if you did not owe it in the first place why provide an exemption? they may have been a dispute over the payment of it and how much had to be paid but if that’s the case let St Lucians know exactly what are the issues involved because to give up $25 million is not an easy decision to be made,” he added.

News of the Sandals tax exemption comes on the heels of statements by Prime Minister Allen Chastanet that St Lucia’s economy was not generating enough revenue to adequately support the provision of basic services such as roads, schools and healthcare.

The Prime Minister said St Lucia has been running a deficit for the past 20 years which has resulted in the diminished quality of roads, schools, healthcare and national security.

“It is not just unfair,” Hilaire said, “it is a cruel and malicious act to deny the country the revenue that it would have earned.”


  1. Anonymous
    September 6, 2017 at 7:11 am

    Agreed,that’s pappyshow! 24 million dollars! Sandals making enough money, the country broke, make them pay!

  2. Anonymous
    September 6, 2017 at 7:37 am

    83000 acreas of our seabeds was given to someone we don’t even know and who has never done anything for stlucia and have to turn around have to pay $ 500,000,000.00 to that same person so you Mr juffalli you my bollbuck explain to me what do you call this why aren’t you asking your masa Kenny these questions this is just one of those blunders that cause you’ll defeat something alyoh cannot get over I will hold on the rest questions for another time you loosers

    1. Lincoln
      September 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

      Stop wallowing in the past. Stay on topic you looser

  3. yes
    September 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

    Uwp needs too set up these persons leaking information.

    1. Anonymous
      September 6, 2017 at 8:30 am

      Yes! the st.lucian public should not know what is happening with their taxes!

    2. Anon1
      September 6, 2017 at 9:04 am

      Its a UWP leaking the documents and rightfully so.

      Keep the leaks coming for with out the leaks the public will be none the wiser about what our “Not too bright PM” and cronies are throwing away.

      1. Anonymous
        September 6, 2017 at 5:48 pm

        We the people of St. Lucia are suffering due to the current state of the economy and we cannot afford to have Companies who make millions upon millions and are reluctant to pay taxes in return, you have a day before the Lord. This is highway robbery.

  4. St. Lucian
    September 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

    At least Sandal doing much for the country through its hotel, employment and marketing of St. Lucia. They spending much more than our tourist board budget.

    But Mr. Hilaire what did Roachmel and Fernwell do for all the money we became indebted to due to Kenny’s stupid financial mismanagement and subsequent cover up in parliament about it?

    What did Grynberg do to get our assets and for which we must pay millions in legal fees to get out of that mess. Kenny again.

    Fact is Hilaire if SLP had behaved themselves and governed properly 2011 – 2016 they might still be in government today and it would be your party dealing with Sandals.

    But, disrespect, arrogance, bluff and no accountability caused St. Lucian to line up in the pelting rain to reject SLP. So today who can you blame but your party. Think about that Hilaire.

  5. Annonymus
    September 6, 2017 at 9:44 am

    24 million can do alot for this country, just take a second and think about that. Now explain why the exemption. Small businesses have to pay Vat every month, these same small businesses sell to these hotels on credit and have to wait 30 days sometimes longer to be paid, they (small businesses) are suffering. Where is the exemption for the small local hotels. Sigh this is nonsense, this is monies owed from 2001-2009 we are in 2017, soon to be 2018, and we’re just gonna exempt this, this could be part of the reason we have been in a deficit for so long and can’t recover and if this continues with every government we will never recover. Mr. Prime Minister before you decide to exempt think about our health care system. Sandals owes so much money and is still able to purchase property in St Lucia, if we owe on my taxes we can’t even buy a piece of property. What is in the heads of these ministers we look up to and call leaders?

    1. Anonymous
      September 6, 2017 at 9:52 am

      The ministers obvioulsy getting something under the table

  6. Anonymous
    September 6, 2017 at 10:04 am

    The employees should sue sandals for taxes illegally withheld.

  7. Anon
    September 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

    That not too bright PM just has no regard for this country. It is all about his family and friends fattening up their wallet. Chastenet needs to go NOW!

  8. Anonymous
    September 6, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Let’s all be productive and make St Lucia great again.

  9. Anonymous
    September 10, 2017 at 9:13 am

    To begin with sandals should not be owing the country so much tax…it was slp seating when it all started….all these politicians are a bunch of hypocrites…trying to divide our people …casting blame and throwing each other under the bus to make themselves look good…urll were put there to check for the people of this country…stop critising each other and do urll jobs…we need some new faces in government…all of urll need to go….

  10. Wendy rosemary
    September 10, 2017 at 9:27 am

    Chastenet is a B….ch..he dose not give a rat’s behind what happen to the Island nor the people.he needs to get kick to the curb..that Basted. Poor people of the Island are struggling. .misery’s hunger

  11. Anonymous
    September 10, 2017 at 9:31 am

    What,s wrong with these fake intellects can,t produce one product to increase our GDP go plant some banana trees.

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