Turks and Caicos premier assures Gov’t will settle dispute with Beaches

Turks and Caicos premier assures Gov’t will settle dispute with Beaches

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) Premier and Finance Minister Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson has assured that her Government will settle a current dispute with Beaches Resorts.

“My ministry has been addressing a long outstanding issue with Beaches and my Government and I are confident that with the facts in full view, we can bring an end to a critical outstanding matter that has seen its basis in an arrangement in place since the resort’s operation started in the 90s and existed throughout every Government in the TCI since then,” Cartwright-Robinson said in a statement today.

The head of government was responding to a confirmation by Beaches that its Turks & Caicos Resort Villages & Spa will be closed from September 3 to October 15  in 2019 and from September 7 to October 22, 2020, and then for an indefinite period from January 2021.

A report published by Magnetic Media last Friday stated that Government taxes were reportedly calculated in a way that is not sitting well with Sandals Resorts International, which operates the Beaches family resorts. The calculations by the Ministry of Finance and backed by the Attorney General’s Chambers, have reportedly been in dispute for years.

Yesterday, Cartwright-Robinson said she wanted to make it clear that the matter is not one of Beaches avoiding taxes or of the former governments or ministers of finance before her intentionally leaving the issue unaddressed. “The current matter followed an event/action that occurred in 2017,” she said.

“I assure the people of the TCI that this matter will be settled in the very best interest of all the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands. I ask those employees of Beaches, taxi drivers, other hotel operators, airline agents and airline workers who contacted me frantically for representation to know that they are being held in highest consideration,” the premier said.

“A large amount of work has since been vested towards the conclusion of this matter. However, as this matter is active before Cabinet where final positions were agreed and are currently being given effect and certainly before Friday’s publication of the Beaches letter relating to the proposed closures, I am unable to disclose anything further,” she said. “However, I assure everyone that I will be fully transparent on this issue and will set out the facts as reported to and experienced by me as minister of finance in its clearest terms as soon as the occasion arises.”

“I implore those void of facts to resist casting wild accusations and unwarranted attacks on elected and public officials as well Beaches Resort itself. I wish to thank those in the public service, especially my PS [permanent secretary], the PS of finance who brilliantly crafted the most appropriate solution at the very outset, all other public officials (the AG’s Chambers and Revenue Control Unit) who assisted in getting us where we are now and Beaches (who continues to be a valued and valuable partner in these islands) for the progress we have made thus far towards resolving this matter,” Cartwright-Robinson added.

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