Bharrat Jagdeo fighting with hoteliers now
Jagdeo thinks that since he took Guyanese tax payers money and give it to Buddy Shivraj to build a hotel and got rooms as payment, and is trying to do the same with the stalled Marriott project, all hotels are built using that model.
Caribbean Hotel Association, Guyana President Spar Over Tax Issue
The recent description of Caribbean hoteliers’ complaints of excessive government taxation as “absolute nonsense” by Bharrat Jagdeo, president of Guyana, reflects a political leadership that has “a narrow and limited perspective on the far-reaching positive effects of tourism on Caribbean economies,” said Josef Forstmayr, president of the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association. “CHTA is of the view that President Jagdeo speaks from a misinformed position on taxation in the islands [in] the region and with little or no knowledge of the tourism industry and the contribution it makes to Caribbean economies,” Forstmayr said.
In response to a question posed at a press conference at the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) summit held recently in St. Kitts, Jagdeo was quoted in local press reports as saying Caribbean governments invest in “one hundred things to support the industry,” including airports and roads. “Who do you think produces the fiscal incentives that make tourism work in these countries?” he asked.
Added Jagdeo, “All [hoteliers] are fussing about is the taxes and sometimes they do not look at their cost structure. When you look at how much a guest pays for a bottle of Coke in mini bar in one of the hotels, it is extraordinarily high. They have to look at the cost structure of the industry without constantly [blaming] the meager tax that governments have from these places.”
Forstmayr said Caribbean hoteliers already “bear too much of an increasing tax burden” as hotel workers, supplies, utilities and guests are taxed in several ways “including at the hotel, on the airline and at the airport sometimes with both arrival and departure taxes.” Forstmayr also lamented that CARICOM failed to include tourism as part of its conference agenda despite a 2010 CARICOM report that said Caribbean governments “have an important role to play in revitalizing the tourism sector” and governments must “ensure that taxation cost does not have too adverse an effect on international competitiveness.”
Said Forstmayr, “CHTA would like to extend an open invitation to President Jagdeo, and anyone else misinformed, to a discussion on tourism to explore the overwhelming, sometimes immeasurable but undeniable impact [it] has on Caribbean economies.” For more information, visit www.caribbeanhotelandtourism.com.