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Feb 21, 2019

PM Barrow says Challenge to GST Amendment Can’t Happen

Aside from an appeal of the Belize Bank ruling by Justice Courtenay Abel, Prime Minister Dean Barrow says that the government also has plans to challenge lawsuits filed by tour operators against the Commissioner of General Sales Tax. In November 2018 the House of Representatives passed an amendment to the General Sales Tax Act following a ruling by the C.C.J. which ordered the G.O.B. to repay Cruise Solutions Limited and Discovery Expeditions Limited, tour companies owned by businessman David Gegg, more than half a million dollars. This is after Gegg’s attorney successfully argued that the tour companies are not legally obligated to pay G.S.T.  The 2018 amendment was basically to close a loophole but four separate tour operators have decided to sue the government in an effort to also collect G.S.T. monies they have paid over the years.  PM Barrow says the success of those lawsuits can’t be allowed.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“It is of concern. It is the people’s right who are making the challenge. That would be a huge loss for government arising from the striking down of a tax that all of us have long since accepted. You might not like it. Nobody quarrels anymore about the merit of a GST tax and we all know that his basically is the life blood of government’s tax system. You will understand that we will have to do all that we possibly can to ensure that such a challenge does not succeed. If we don’t, what do you think will happen?  That amount of tax can’t go just like that. It will have to be replaced and who do you think will have to pay it? Not the same people who are currently paying the GST? No man. We can’t have that happen.”

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