Municipal Solid Waste Tax is another attack on a beleaguered Barbados tourism and hotel sector

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“What is especially galling is that we are expected to pay this new solid waste tax imposition before we receive the tens of thousands of Dollars we are still owed in NIS and VAT refunds…”

Adrian Loveridge - tourism expert, hotel owner

Adrian Loveridge – tourism expert, hotel owner

When my now wife and I ‘discovered’ a then virtually derelict Arawak Inn back in 1988, we never really set out to become seasoned hoteliers. More like having the privilege of living in a big ‘house’ right on the ocean and sharing it with a few friends and the many clients who followed us over the years with our British based tour operators business. Every restored and occupied room was another gallon of paint or new soft furnishing.

Our first major setback came when after paying the initial deposit to buy the hotel, the value of Sterling plummeted from over BDS$4 to the Pound to BDS$2.88 at the time of completion. As all our funds were brought in from overseas, there was no alternative as an option.

Effectively this wrote-off literally every cent we had budgeted for renovation and improvement of the property. As new residents it was virtually impossible to borrow monies from the banks. They wanted a trading record, three years of audited accounts, cash flow forecasts and business plans among many other requirements. Suppliers, with very few notable exceptions, would not grant us credit and so we learnt very quickly, how to not only survive, but flourish and transform the hotel from earned trading revenue.

While easy to say now, in hindsight, it was probably the best thing that happened, leaving us totally debt-free years later. 

What often brings a wry smile to our faces is endlessly hearing the frequent vocal uttering from frankly people who should simply know better, that Barbadian hoteliers have constantly got their hands outstretched begging for Government (taxpayers) monies.

The reality in our case, and I would think the vast majority of other hotel owners, that over the last 26 years we have not received one red cent from this or any previous Government.

The single exception is a reduced rate of land taxes, but now that we are currently closed, even this concession has been withdrawn.

Like many, we will struggle to pay the first installment of yet another unbudgeted expense by latest end of this month, the Municipal Solid Waste Tax – especially at this time of the year which is the most financially challenging period for our beleaguered tourism industry.

If we fail to do so, we are threatened with a 5 per cent penalty plus 1 per cent interest on and unpaid balance per month. I wonder how many people have calculated that this is an effective APR (annual percentage rate) of around 22 per cent interest.

Take an unpaid balance of $4,000 as an example… $200 in penalties plus one per cent per month for six months adds another $240, so a mind boggling $440 in total.

What is especially galling is that we are expected to pay this new imposition before we receive the tens of thousands of Dollars we are still owed in NIS and VAT refunds, which have not accrued any penalty and interest, at least to us.

As the Minister of Finance rightly pointed out, with all the various collection agencies, now under one umbrella, the Barbados Revenue Authority, with a sole Commissioner, it should be a very simple task to resolve this problem.

If this or any administration believes for a minute that small businesses like ours are going to our bank, cap-in-hand to beg overdraft facilities for the sole purpose of paying an additional inflicted tax, where payment is demanded at a few days notice, then think again.

18 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Barbados Tourism

18 responses to “Municipal Solid Waste Tax is another attack on a beleaguered Barbados tourism and hotel sector

  1. Anonymous

    I hope that by the 15th of August the clowns in Govt will realize that this tax has failed, when 90 % or more of those who received a bill, simply do not pay it. It seems to be the only message they will understand loud and clear.

  2. Party Animal

    Anonymous @ I hope it will be 100%, I don’t think the Jail is big enough for all of us, how ever there should be room for 30 persons

  3. Anonymous

    I too have this tax to pay and i too am hurting. I am by no means a believer in conspiracy theories but i wonder whose purposes are better served by this i am not going to pay this tax “grass roots” campaign…

    Could the large and wealthy property owners be behind this using certain parts of the media to help make this a “small mans” issue in order to somehow get out of paying back to the treasury some of the money that they have got as a result of doing business here?

    It wouldn’t be the first time the unwashed masses have been used in this way.

  4. babsie

    Here is my story my aunt owns a piece of land in the city which is rented. The tenant is the owner of the chattel house on the land. He recently added a wall bathroom etc to the house.

    Can someone explain to me why my aunt has to pay $235.00 solid waste tax when she is the owner of the land but not the owner of the chattel house?

  5. Wily Coyote

    @babsie

    Your Aunt is effectively owner of the house as she has allowed the tenant to put/build on her land. Suggest she bill the tenant for the Waste Tax due. This is but another of the failures in this Waste Tax issue, it was not well thought through, that is if it was thought through at all.

  6. Even if they repeal it, they should still be kicked out for sheer stupidity and lack of fore-thought in the very place.

    But with that said, we knew about this for nearly a year, and it was passed into law a couple of months ago, so why did we wait until now to kick up a fuss ???????????

  7. That is the most self-damning question that ALL/most Barbadians have to answer first, then complain all you want.

    When everyone was still enjoying themselves and some still are, the ones who were trying to get people to be pro-active were cussed and black-balled, told they were preaching gloom and doom, and being too negative and pessimistic.

    Same goes for the ones suffering not only with this SWT but everything else, others did not care about them, only now it hitting their pocket or taking aim at it.

    Unfortunately, when done we ALL got to suffer now … think the lesson has been learned – by some maybe – otherwise, yeah right … party time, drink a rum.

  8. Oh, and this I didn’t think of before … but how much do all the wealthy individuals living in Townhouses have to pay? Certain not as much as the rest of us that have a house and land.

  9. Anonymous

    @David G Brooks..To answer your last question…I invested in a Townhouse last year..cost Bdos $850000..SWT bill..$241.00
    My house and land, 8500 sq ft, Site value as per their calculation $675000, and Tax $2025.00.
    It just does not make sense.
    The SWT on my house and land is almost as much as my Land Tax!
    These clowns have obviously not given this Tax enough study and consideration. .

  10. Nostradamus

    @Anonymous
    “These clowns have obviously not given this Tax enough study and consideration.”

    Please don’t insult clowns….lol…let’s go with “jokers” but unfortunately none of us are laughing.

  11. IDB President Luis Alberto Moreno charters private jet to get him from Belize to Panama.

    The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) was created with the express mission of making people in the Caribbean less poor.

    Why would a man who heads an organization devoted to making Caribbean people less poor DEMAND a private charter jet from Belize to Panama?

    Who is paying for that?

  12. This is blatant corruption at the highest level. How can you implement a tax on the people without thoroughly reviewing the ramification on the citizens of this island, furthermore how can you expect the people to pay and you the government of this dear land owe quite a few of these same people , remember one must clean there own house before pointing ant other houses and say there dirty. If you are going to implement a tax then we need a vote and it needs to be fair if you want it to work maybe you should have considered making it a monthly amount added to the water and sewer bill that should not exceed a certain amount based on the resident situation. Looks like a whole lot of research needs to be done because as it stands this looks like a straight Mafia deal.

  13. Buun

    This government reminds me of the movie Robin Hood. Guest who is robbin the poor? And if you do not pay the taxes the clowns take your land.

  14. Buun

    Why do we have people working for goverment and living in government housing or renting out the units to the poor?

    The goverment really needs to audit their own housing system and find the real criminals robbin the system and make them payback.

  15. Marvin Bareback

    I totally agree with the headline of this article……where are the refunds for VAT?!?! The motherf#*kers haven’t paid our small business for over 2 years!!! We should be able to make a set off against the amount owed.

  16. Bajan Abroad

    Seriously people? In developed countries we have been paying municipal waist (wink) removal taxes for years. Stop crying! You are accustomed to too much freeness. Perhaps you would rather lay off the collection workers and dump your garbage on another person’s property in the dead of the night.

  17. Shelly

    @Bajan Abroad: What “freeness” are you referring too??? If in your developed country they imposed another tax on you, I bet you wouldn’t like it very much. Maybe you missed all the people being laid off from their jobs.

  18. Bajan Abroad

    @Shelly: Forgive me, did you have to pay the waste tax before? No? Then by definition it was free. And are you are complaining because you are unaccustomed to paying the new tax? Well then you liked the freeness.

    Where I come from people are overtaxed (I can tell you money doesn’t grows on trees and the streets aren’t paved in gold) but taxes also pay for public services and infrastructure development which keep people otherwise employed and contributing. Perhaps you and I should be talking about private sector outsourcing to reduce expenses and keep jobs (albeit lower paying Mc jobs). Or government’s, in general, using their existing revenues more efficiently. Or how even more people could be laid off without this tax.

    The waters are rough all over, keep paddling and hope for calmer seas.