Forbidden questions about Extraordinary tax concessions to Butch Stewart’s Sandals Resorts

“I had no intention of offending anyone.”

Adrian Loveridge

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

Adrian Loveridge, tourism expert

While it was very tempting to write on any subject this week other than the ‘Butcherisation’ I received at the recent Barbados Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon, that would have been the easy way out and certainly not in my character.

First for the record, I had no intention of offending anyone.

In fact I made it abundantly clear in my opening remarks that many of us greatly admire Mr. Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart and the hotel empire he has spearheaded. I am not so remotely naive to believe that any one person can achieve this alone and a great part of the success is attracting the right people around you. This equally applies whether it is a small or large business.

Perhaps what surprises me more than anything is that a person who has received everything he has asked for within weeks and possibly more than we are aware of, yet was so unwilling to respond to legitimate concerns. Especially, while so many who actually live on Barbados have toiled to build the destination’s tourism industry over several decades while being consistently denied similar extraordinary concessions. 

Equally baffling were the number of persons present at the event who over the last months had, albeit in the shadows of anonymity, literally moaned about their inability to solicit business from Sandals Barbados, but were now cheering their new found ‘super hero’.

The temptation is to name and shame these persons in this column, but they know who they are.

Are we really such a Nation of hypocrites?

It really takes me back to the story of Hotels and Resorts Ltd (GEMS), a subject that only I and the late Peter Morgan persistently criticised publicly.

Of course over this long saga there were prominent hoteliers in the background, but their frequent contributions via platforms like me, always carried the warning sign, ‘never mention my name’. Perhaps if a few had been more vocal the taxpayer would have been spared the squandering of hundreds of millions of dollars, which could have helped uplift or even transformed the entire industry.

Seasoned journalist, Patrick Hoyos, questioned whether or not the BCCI forum was a suitable one to pose these questions. Probably not, but where else would there have been another opportunity to engage Mr. Stewart?

Seemingly impressive figures regarding Sandals local purchasing were quoted at the meeting, but not a single reporter either at the time or subsequently sought to compare these amounts against the overall stated or projected turnover.

So let’s do it here. ‘$648,000 was spent on supplies from local manufacturers and farmers’.

Based on the quoted 85 per cent occupancy, two persons per room with an average 7 night stay that’s a daily spend of $12.15 per person over the 16 weeks identified.

Bearing in mind the current lowest published room rate is over US$500 per night, are you still impressed?

My question regarding the level of VAT actually levied directly on guests can easily be verified by Government, as by now Sandals Barbados would have by law been required to file at least two VAT returns.

Whether this is part of any ongoing due diligence and monitoring by the current administration – only time will tell.

9 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism, Economy

9 responses to “Forbidden questions about Extraordinary tax concessions to Butch Stewart’s Sandals Resorts

  1. robert ross

    BFP…you are bombarding us. And you are short changing yourself through duplication.

  2. CQ9

    @robert ross

    It’s an important subject. I think its fair that BFP is giving it lots of coverage. No answers coming from the government or Sandals!

  3. chestertoon

    How dare Mr. Loveridge ask the questions that Mr. Hoyos and others are thinking but lack the courage to ask!

  4. just want to know

    In Barbados Journalists do not do investigative journalism, they just accept what other people say. We see it every night on The CBC – DLP television, that all taxpayers contribute too. Good for you Mr. Loveridge you say what you have to say, these people are real yardfowls!!!!!!

  5. robert ross

    I made two points.

    First that too many posts are coming at the same time.
    Second, that this post and another have already appeared on BU.

    Take the two together, and (for me) BFP is short changing itself.

    I made no comment about the importance of either and, indeed, do not question that.

  6. WSD

    Loveridge and others send posts to both BU and BFP. Sometimes BFP puts them up first, sometimes BU. What’s the problem?

  7. WSD

    I forgot: Loveridge sends to the newspapers too and the blogs usually beat the newspapers every time. Robert Ross: are you saying if BU or BFP publishes Loveridge’s article that The Nation or Advocate shouldn’t?

    That seems to be your argument: first past the gate wins all.

  8. Starboy

    @Ross..Wait who dead & put you in charge? Start your own blog if you want to be the Boss.Chaa wid you.

  9. robert ross

    WSD

    I made TWO points which, as I said, if taken together…..I’m sure you can read…well maybe I’m not.

    WSD and Starboy

    And sure….with all of 8 contributions and only three substantive BFP can take it or leave it. I don’t think they need YOU to speak for them or maybe they ARE speaking. Once upon a time they would have responded directly – or maybe this is the other lot. In the murky world of the blogs you never know.

    I note that neither of you have made substantial contributions. Try it and put your bodies where your mouths are.

    Loveridge can put his stuff wherever he likes and as often as he likes, and usually does. Good luck to him.