I wrote an article before entitled “the saga continues between Beaches and TCI”. In that article, I stressed how no one or no company should hold our country hostage and I still am of that view. However, what if the claims that Beaches Resort are making are right?
Let us think about this now, if you were Beaches Resort and you were told that you owed $26.7million in taxes and $76million in penalties and based on your agreement with the Government, you are paying what you supposed to pay and you are also paying taxes for children under 12, what would you do? Would you take the risk and open your resort and perhaps accumulating more liability if you continue to process the taxes as was done in the past?
As much as I do not like the fact that we are dependent on Beaches, we have allow this matter to go unresolved for too long
Where did we go wrong?
Based on what I read in the media, the Government is saying that Beaches is paying only 60% of the 12% tax collected. Beaches is saying that they have an agreement in place to do so. Beaches is also saying they were paying taxes for children under 12 when the law does not permit that.
In 2016 (prior to the change in Government), an audit took place of many of the tax paying establishments. The audit results were revealed in 2017 indicating a number of establishments who owed the Government taxes. If the Government claims that Beaches owed 26.7m then why no effort has been made to collect but yet when the small man owe $1, they run after that small man for that $1
While I am grateful and appreciate that an audit took place, I believe we waited too late to do audits especially for a business that has been here since 1996. We should perform audits every 2 years at minimum.
We are in 2020, why did not we come to an amicable solution from the time the results were revealed? Furthermore, why did not we not deal with this during the lockdown between March and July?
Let’s hear the truth
Because we do not know the real stories only what we read in the media, I believe there is more to the story. Beaches must have something in writing to support their claims as word of mouth is not adequate evidence. How can a company make this up without something in writing?
The Government needs to tell the public in details their side of the story. Yes this is a legal issue and we have to be careful what is being said but the truth is the truth and the truth needs to be told otherwise the public will continue to speculate what is going on and form opinions based on emotions and hearsay.
It is easier said than done
Many people are saying return the work permit holders’ home. Yes if you are on a work permit and you are not working, you should return home but what if some of these work permit holders are working part time there. What if some of these work permit holders are living in your apartments so that you can pay your mortgage? What if some of these work permit holders have their children in private schools that are owned by locals and the churches? This is so easier said than done.
Many people are saying they standing with the Government for taking a stand. The Government has not taken a stand. The Government has avoided the issue and should have treated this matter with urgency. The opposition on the other hand needs to come out with their positon and pressure the Government to make a decision. After all, the audit commenced under the previous administration.
Many people are saying some locals need to come together and purchase the resort. While coming together is a great idea, however, we are not in a position to purchase Beaches. Some of us cannot even pay our mortgage. Beaches is worth perhaps more than $1billion and may not sell their properties individually.
Many people are saying let Beaches go. It is so easy to say that but because of Beaches, whether we like or not, our economy has transformed. More jobs, more visitors, more revenue, more flights, more involvement in the community particularly with the schools and more marketing than our Government. Beaches is the largest resort with 758 rooms and has over 1800 employees. Furthermore, Beaches has develop a Brand that is a household name throughout the World. According to an article in the TCI Sun, “Beaches pays more than $600,000 a month in accommodation taxes, $2,5Million in payroll a month, $700,000 to Fortis a month, and $19million to Provo Airport from arriving guests and $2million annually to taxi drivers”
Whether Beaches is right or not, the issue must be dealt with sooner rather later and this requires maturity and decisiveness. Therefore we must hold our Government accountable. Let us stop looking at this issue as foreign vs locals. Mr. Stewart has been here now for almost 25 years and furthermore, he was granted belongership status.