“If they want to go court let them go to court," said Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister Gaston Browne.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne put telecommunication providers Digicel and Flow on notice that his government will withdraw from its tax concession agreements signed during the previous United Progressive Party (UPP) led administration.
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Speaking in parliament Monday, Browne, who also serves as the Caribbean country's minister of finance, said the agreement afforded the two telecommunication companies usurious tax exemption status.
“If they want to go court let them go to court. For example, we have two telecommunication companies that would have entered agreements with the former administration that resulted in the exemption in the payment of taxes for a number of years,” Browne argued.
“Since we have been in government for the last four years, we have not collected any taxes from them and if we did it would have been negligible. And I am saying that those usurious arrangements must come to an end.”
Though Browne foresees a legal battle on the horizon, he insisted that the two companies must start paying their share of taxes, according to Caribbean News Now. He requested Robin Yearwood, the minister of public utilities, civil aviation, and transportation, to convene with the two telecommunication corporations “to let them know we not honoring those agreements. Bring them to an end…we all know they were usurious.”
The Prime Minister reminded that his government would not be seeking retroactive tax payments, however, “they must pay their taxes. So they must make extortionate profits and repatriate those profits and leave the country broke?”
“We call on Digicel and Flow to pay their taxes, and if they don’t want to pay they can leave, and I am absolutely serious.”