Last month Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony during the second reading of the VAT Bill in the house of assembly revealed the hotel sector owes the state over 33 million dollars in taxes.
This week Independent Senator Berthia Parle countered in the upper house the hotel sector pays its fare share of taxes.
The former President of the Saint Lucia Hotel and Tourism Association during debate on the tax reform legislation in the senate on Tuesday said this includes duties on imports and purchases and the hotel accommodation tax.
She suggested the sector’s tax liabilities are not necessarily attributable to tax evasion.
Senator Parle warned against what she says is tarnishing the entire sector with the same brush. However she encouraged hotels which are indebted to the state to honor their tax commitments.
The hotelier believes the clout of the hotel and tourism association can assuage members to abide by the tax laws.
Parle contends revenue from the tourism industry is also generated by income taxes both personal and corporate and the multiplier effect of employment and linkage industries including agriculture.
The tourism insider agrees the imposition of the standard 15 percent VAT rate on certain services will increase the level of revenue because there are many sub-sectors which are not subjected to the 8 percent Hotel Accommodation Tax (HAT).
Senator Parle also defended the decision by the Dr. Kenny Anthony administration to maintain the 8 percent hotel accommodation tax and delay the imposition of VAT on one component of the island’s economic mainstay.
She denies the industry is receiving preferential treatment arguing other territories have taken similarly steps not to “kill the proverbial goose which lays the egg”.
Tourism accounts for more two thirds of the island’s GDP and over 60 percent of tax revenue.
Peter foster appointed QC Story byWinston Springer
The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has announced that Peter Irvin Foster has been appointed as one of Her Majesty’s Counsel for the independent States and Colonies served by the court on the recommendation of His Lordship, the Hon Chief Justice Sir Hugh A. Rawlins.
According to the Supreme Court, Her Excellency Dame Pearlette Louisy, Governor General has caused letters patent dated 2nd July 2012 to be issued to Mr.
Foster for the completion of his appointment. The court queen’s counsel appointment protocol was approved by the Heads of Government and came into effect on November 2010.
The protocol required the Chief Justice to appoint an advisory Committee styled “Silk Advisory Committee” to review the applications received for Queen’s Counsel and undertake consultation and submit a report to Office of the Chief Justice on assessment of the applications.
Following its assessment, the committee recommended names of the applicants from Eastern Caribbean member states to the Chief Justices to be considered for appointment.
The Speaker of the House, Mr. Foster was recommended and is now privileged to use the prestigious Queen’s Counsel Designation
Cerebral palsy association Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
Cerebral palsy (CP) is a widely misunderstood condition that is actually the largest cause of physical disability in children.
The incidence occurs at a rate of somewhere between one in 400 to 500 births. The newly formed Cerebral Palsy Association of Saint Lucia was initiated by two parents of children affected with cerebral palsy with a view to becoming the primary advocate for therapy, properly equipped facilities and issues related to general care.
Diane Leonce is the vice president, of the cerebral palsy association of Saint Lucia. She says there is general misinformation and stigma attached to cerebral palsy.
Leonce says the association is looking forward to participating meaningfully in the inaugural 2012 observance of world Cerebral Palsy Day.
Tuesday September 4, 2012, will be the first annual World Cerebral Palsy Day. This will be a day for 17 million global citizens to come together to raise awareness on a local, national and international level in a collaborative effort to make a difference in the lives of those living with cerebral palsy and their families.
According to the Cerebral Palsy Alliance in Australia, World CP Day is an exciting world first, not only to engage the CP community to create innovative ideas that could change their world but also to engage inventors, developers, innovation companies, universities or even people with disabilities who are budding inventors to create products and solutions to the many ideas submitted.
Education book list Story bySarah Peter
Parents of primary school students around the island will soon be receiving a new book list. The Ministry of Education says while they were reservations about the move they felt it was necessary as the 2006 book list did not cater for the impending introduction of new subjects in the education system.
Furthermore, the Ministry felt with changes to the education syllabus, textbooks of 2006 were obsolete.
Chief Education Officer Mr. Marcus Edward says an audit report validated the decision.
Parents have complained about what they say is constant changes by the Ministry to students book lists lamenting they have to find extra income to purchase new books as opposed to second hand books that are fairly cheaper.
Nevertheless, the Ministry maintains the changes are necessary. The school book adjustments also come amid the announcement of the establishment of an Education Access Fund.
Edward says the initiative will provide significant financial help for students making the transition from primary to secondary school.
Edward further indicated that the Ministry of Education is dedicated to a textbook review which will be completed by January 2013.
Co-operatives consultation Story byLovely St.Aime Joseph
The department of cooperatives on Wednesday hosted a one day consultation for non financial co operatives on the harmonized cooperatives bill.
Registrar of Cooperatives, Sherill St Catherine, says although the bill has been in circulation for some time Saint Lucia remains one of the few OECS countries who have not enacted the bill.
St Catherine says the forum was hosted to ensure the vulnerable group of non financial cooperatives gets an opportunity to give their input on the harmonized bill.
Of key concern St Catherine, says is to assess the impact regularization of the sector might have on these cooperatives.
Horace Walters is a former Registrar of cooperatives, now President of the Castries Fishermen’s Cooperative Society as well as President of the St Lucia Fisher Folk Society. Walters argues to change the function of the Department of Cooperatives from developmental to strictly regulatory will serve as a great disadvantage to the development and progress of cooperatives.
Cooperatives, he says, have a great role to play in the development of communities. As a result he believes the Department of Cooperatives should maintain its developmental mandate.
2012 is recognized world wide as the international year of cooperatives. It is celebrated under the theme: ‘cooperative enterprises build a better world’.
WINFRESH meeting Story byWinston Springer
The WINFRESH warns if the banana industry fails to urgently address problems it runs the risk of permanent displacement from the market.
Prime Ministers and Ministers for Agriculture of the OECS shareholder Governments of WINFRESH met with the Board and Management of the company in Saint Lucia.
The packaging company emphasized that there was still a strong market for Windward Islands bananas but that the bananas had to meet quality and volume requirements consistently.
WINFRESH said the fundamental problems were – low productivity, poor and inconsistent quality, and erratic volumes, as well as the impact of diseases such as the Black Sigatoka infestation.
It was agreed at the meeting that the company would submit detailed business plans to the governments for future development and operations.
The Ministries and WINFRESH also agreed to establish a framework to plan and implement programmes covering all aspects of agricultural development in the sub-region.
Simulation exercise Story bySarah Peter
A simulation exercise involving a fake air plane crash got underway Tuesday at the Hewanorra International Airport.
The mock disaster was facilitated by the St. Lucia Air and Sea Ports Authority, the St. Lucia Fire Service and agencies.
The exercise is held bi- annually to test the capability of the response agencies on the island to cope with any potential air port emergency.
Facilitators of the program say the exercises are important to help equip personnel with the requisite skills to deal with any eventuality. Over a hundred people participated in the simulation exercise.
Deputy Chief of Ports Police, Martin President says the simulation was vital to identify weaknesses as well as strengths in their response capacity of the participating agencies. He says constant training will alleviate response deficiencies.
President is confident the training exercise achieved its stated objectives especially in the enhancement of airport security.
Junior calypso Story bySant Justin
Six schools received various prizes including cash and electronics after award winning performances at the “Junior Calypso Competition”.
The competition was held on Sunday 10th June. Corinth Secondary School won the high school leg and the R.C. Boys Primary school captured the Primary leg.
Curriculum Specialist for Music at CAMDU- Jason Joseph says the event made an brilliant return after a four year absence.
Corporate sponsors such as Bank of St. Lucia and A.F. Valmont were instrumental in securing interesting prizes for the top contestants.
Joseph says the main challenge for organizers of the concert was attracting the interest of corporate sponsors.
He says once the private sector were committed to the show everything fell into place. Joseph and the committee have also expressed confidence in the new scheduled June date for the activity.
Joseph is calling on more entities such as the various Government Ministries to demonstrate their support for future activities, in order to advance the art form.
Nigel Nicholas scores big Story bySant Justin
The integration and networking of music producers and singers around the region is baring fruit.
Local music production house- Slaughter Arts has captured second place in the Power Soca Monarch Competition and the Road Match Title during St. Vincent Carnival this year.
Co-Producer of Slaughter Arts Media- Nigel Nicholas says performer Fya Empress made significant headway with her
track ‘Rum Please” sung on the company’s instrumental “Castries Harbor Riddim” . Nicholas says his production company is involved in a number of interregional collaborations. He says the Caribbean connection augurs well for the island burgeoning music industry.
Slaughter Arts Media currently works with many St. Lucian artistes such as soca star Private Six.
Bartenders workshop Story bySarah Peter
The first day of a three day Bartenders Workshop got underway at the Bay Gardens Hotel on Tuesday.
The initiative is being facilitated by Emporia, a distribution company in England.
The aim is for bartenders to learn creative ways to make cocktails.
The workshop is also preparation ahead of the annual St Lucia Distillers bartender’s competition.
Marketing and Communications Manager Jennifer Gaston was pleased with the favorable response from participants thus far.
An expert bartender from the London Bar Industry says she intends to teach participants creative ways to use fruits on the island to boost their cocktails.
She further expressed gratitude to the organizers for having her on the island to impart her knowledge to the local mixologists.
The annual bartender competition is expected to mix off in August. Over fifty participants from hotels around the island have registered for the contest.
Parle on taxes
Peter foster appointed QC
Cerebral palsy association
Education book list
Nigel Nicholas scores big
Subventions from government are paid to all aspects of Saint Lucia Carnival. That means taxpayers subsidize everything from bands, to shows and community events. The cash injection is in addition to the bulk funding provided by government to the entity that manages the festival – for the past two years that has been the Stakeholder Committee and before them it was the CDF. Three Carnival bands including the reigning Band of the Year have dropped out of competition due in part to funding constraints. Other associations like the National Carnival Queen Committee and tent leaders have lamented dwindling sponsorship dollars and the need for government funding.
But is it fair to expect Saint Lucians to pay for a product they ultimately have to purchase in the way of costumes, tent shows and events?
Is it realistic for Carnival stakeholders to expect government to subsidize their contribution to the festival?