DHTA and Government to consult on new taxes

Nassief believes
Nassief says new port taxes will negatively impact the tourism sector.

President of the Dominica Hotel and Tourism Association (DHTA), Gregor Nassief, has said that new taxes will in no way  benefit the already heavily challenged tourism sector in Dominica.

Nassief was commenting on a regulation made by the minister responsible for ports under section 74 of The Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority Act, which authorizes a new EC $27 Entry Tax and additional EC $5 Security Tax on visitors and nationals entering and leaving Dominica.

Passengers in transit, diplomats, children under the age of 12, persons on official government business and cruise passengers are exempt from these new taxes.

“There is no way an additional entry tax could be beneficial to the tourism industry unless other things are done to move the industry forward,” Nassief said.

He identified some of the stumbling blocks to tourism development in Dominica as a low marketing budget for the country, high energy costs, Dominica being one of the most expensive destinations to get to and the air access issue.

“The sector needs a more enabling environment for investing and operating business. So when you sum up all these things, the tourism product is not a well-established one. We are obviously struggling to grow and to overcome the challenges. So, on top of that, to introduce an entry tax which effectively makes the cost of getting to Dominica higher is very challenging for the sector at this time.”

Nassief said the DHTA has been in contact with the government and they have agreed to consultations with the association next week.

“So our hope is that look at the impact of this, evaluate all the possible options and agree on the right way forward for the industry and we understand the need for DASPA to become financially sustainable but our first priority is to ensure that there will not be further negative impact to the industry.”

Minister responsible for ports, Rayburn Blackmore has said that government has decided to defer implementation of the taxes.

Speaking on State owned DBS, Blackmore said the decision for the two taxes was conceptualized in December 2013 and government entered into negotiations with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) for the actual collection of the fee of US$ 10 (EC$ 27) upon entry.

He said they are not new fees and were in place for the past 10 years but were not being collected by DASPA. He added that the measures were adopted based on DASPA’s recommendations to help better maintain port facilities on the island,“bearing in mind the tremendous challenges and standards we have to meet at our ports as far as civil aviation and security is concerned.” He said further that they were permissible by law (section 74.1 of the Dominica Air and Sea Port Authority (DASPA).

Implementation of the new taxes was expected to begin by July 2014 but, according to Blackmore, the agreement was not finalized with the IATA for the collection of the US$ 10/EC$ 27.

“Going forward we are going to have more constructive engagements with the relevant stakeholders and as a consequence we are going to further defer the introduction of that fee,” Blackmore stated.

The matter was first brought to the attention of the media by Parliamentary representative for Roseau Central, Norris Prevost, who accused the government of “clandestinely and secretly” introducing the new measures. He called it an act of “deceit” arguing that this is not good news for the tourism sector which he said is already on its knees in Dominica.

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40 Comments

  1. eyes wide open
    September 29, 2014

    my only argument to this communist government…mr.blackmore said on kairi fm that this new tax/fee is to maintain the airport…and how other countries have it to maintain their airport and its services…what i would like to know as a young first time voter…why now?so you’re telling me that for all this time the airport has not been maintained?who was maintaining it?didnt you put nightlanding WITHOUT this tax/fee?SO WHY NOW? this is suspicous on all levels i must say.the “maintenance’ of the airport has been neglected under your watch then?

  2. dafriend
    September 29, 2014

    This entry tax yet again shows that Skerrit and the DLP are totally incompetent. They just have not got a clue! Yet, there is still a huge number of Dominicans willing to vote for them on the basis – personal gain before the country’s interest. What a sad story!!! I hope and pray that the DLP is not be given another 5 years because that will definitely ruin this country completely. Wake up people, do the right thing for once.

  3. September 27, 2014

    this tax is a dumb idea. why exempt diplomats who can pay?why exempt cruise ship tourist and govt. workers on govt. buisness? where is the equity this is a wicked tax. really this govt, have outstayed their welcome.

  4. The Times
    September 27, 2014

    Ralph Gonsalves came to Dominica on a political platform and made it clear that Dominica does not need and international airport. A few months after he reached an agreement with Taiwan to build an International airport in St. Vincent.

    Hugo Chavez came to Dominica and said Venezuela is our new mother land.

    SMH. We have neither a vision nor identity in this land. We let leader from outside come and assist in our economic imprisonment and our Government allows this.

    If the Government knows better it will do better but it seems they have not found their identity nor vision after 14.5 years in power.

  5. JoJo
    September 27, 2014

    DNO, Charlie Jong and his NEP Brigade have taken over your thumbs u-thumbs down voting system. I wondered when they would finally get around to that. It is too obvious, laugable and counterproductive. Even more reason to beat his paymaster at the polls.

  6. see 4 yourself why
    September 27, 2014

    Hypocritical caribbean nations cried fowl when UK put flight tax yet theliat airlineitickets are taxed by every caribbean country that the flight passes through. Leave a final liat ticket price of almost 1 and 1/2 to 2 times liats base ticket price.
    Then there is the departue tax now the entry tax?
    So it cost much cheaper to fly from trinidad to newyork than to Dominica.

    solution: remove all taxes on air and ferry fair
    the VAT collected from the increased visitors, business generation and economic growth via a multiplier effect
    will more than be ableb to meet govrnment expenditure.

    bottom line: would you renew the contract of a manager if he ran your business at a loss, chased away customers and lived with more bling than you?

    I certainly would not

  7. Rocky Hills
    September 26, 2014

    why the fuss….i don’t see it at all..

    Dominicans are general foolish in all ways..

    why u think they are rated the poorest it’s because of how dul lame and dazed as a society…

    didn’t those foolish mind go to sleep and say give the young man a chance….

    kick them more in their behinds skero they are foolish and will remain so…

    • Anonymous
      September 29, 2014

      It is ppl like you that killing the country.
      You give up and u still want to insult the people in the struggle.
      It is the job of the opposition to rep. The country.
      And challenge the pm.
      If someone has a chance to win, you should expect them to do all they can.
      Try it and surprise yourself.

  8. just me
    September 26, 2014

    Is that the same nassief that was posting his comments for all to see when it was the CEO of liat
    How could that information hit the airwaves without you knowing how could not known now you want to talk! are you OK sir?

  9. lololol
    September 26, 2014

    Doc love, correction we allow skerrit to get what he wants the power is in the hands of the people, they just don’t recognize that

  10. icepop
    September 26, 2014

    Oh Oh Blackmore so if th negotiations with IATA was successful or completed in July the tax would already have been in effect- so what is the Bull…. about the intent was to discuss with the DHTA ansd other sectors; reminds me of the geothermal project etc – why are we always putting the cart before the horse or is it deliberate.

  11. diva girl
    September 26, 2014

    Mr skerrit sucking Dominica dry when he lives he not living nothing

  12. Mee3
    September 26, 2014

    I am wondering why Mr.Nassief did not make a first impression comment the day the news broke. To me it seems like he needed to have a close door meeting with the Government before he spoke and maybe that os why the are now onsidering changing that tax. After all we have to remember the Nassief’s are big players in the Labour party, remember his brother was tourism minister and got paid $1 (one dollar) dollar ….. But if Mr.Nassief wanted to come out like he had genuine concern, he should have done it the day the media questioned him and not 3 or 4 days later. As president of the DHTA, I think anything which can impact the tourism sector negatively he should address it instantly.

    I am independent, I am Dominica(n).

    • CYRIL Volney
      September 27, 2014

      Mr. Nassief is President of an organization with a board of directors. It would be inappropriate for him to speak on behalf of the DHTA without consulting with his board. If he was the Chief Executive Officer, charged with “running” the org, it would be different.

      • just saying
        September 29, 2014

        He doesn’t have to speak as an official of DHTA. He is suppose to be a Dominica but then again, I guess he is the set that are exempted from the tax so why should he speak right?

  13. anonymous2
    September 26, 2014

    My word for the entry tax would be “stupid.” Just drive the country down lower and keep penalizing the inhabitants. What a greedy govt. There are a lot of changes that need to be made once this administration if out.

  14. Grand Bay Yard-fowl
    September 26, 2014

    Ko-ki-yo-ko!!!

    You have to be a disconnected minister to not know that any more taxes on anything on the island, is like a vampire sucking the last drop of blood from its victim, especially when that blood is used to fatten the cash-cow that they can milk.

    Certainly it reinforces the narrative, “It’s all for them.” People!!! They, in Parliament have gone blindly MAD. Funny, they think that “We the People” are in that too. Whether you are Red, Yellow, Independent or Blue, you are called upon to save your country before you’ll regret it, when you get screwed. As for me, I’ll continue to scratch, scratch with a head up checking out the scene.

  15. Gasparo Contarini
    September 26, 2014

    Dominicans lucky it is election time, cause dem fellas kill Agricultural and they want to kill tourism next, if it was not election time they would never consult anybody, nor do they listen to anyone, they only listen to the Cabal at the top.

  16. magway sa
    September 26, 2014

    In the past these same Nsassief folks sided with all nonesense Skerrit and his government came up with this is why the Government tried to deceive Dominicans with this tax and boldly in our face telling us it is not a tax and hoping that the Nassiefs will continue to support their move. It is the same Nassiefs who fought tooth and nail that we did not need an International airport and e could not afford one when Skerrit was singing that song. If the new fees are not tax what is it? Syphoning money from an already hard strapped economy is bad news. The Nassiefs realize now they are going no where with this government, they realize now this playboy was taking them for a ride, they now want out; they also realize that the plans being put forward by the opposition sound more solid and realistic with promise that WILL materialize. So we welcome what the DHTA and the rest of the concerned Tourism sector standing for. Expose the tax for what it is worth. Enough is enough

  17. Frenz
    September 26, 2014

    What exactly are they expecting to hear from the stakeholders. Also I wonder who are the stakeholders. Is it just the Hoteliers. What about the hucksters, ship owners, Ferry operators etc, business travelers.

    The ignorance and arrogance of this administration is mind boggling. The added tax will eventually trickle down to the common man.
    To state now that you will now consult with the stake holders is asinine. Why didn’t you bring the matter to the debate for a broader discussion, engagement and consultancy.

    Am I surprised at the kinder garden behavior coming from the Labor Party administration? Absolutely not. This administration is just like a burnt out coal pit.

  18. Dixon
    September 26, 2014

    You mean they had 10 years to evaluate this and now they implement the tax and then repealing it. You guys joking- I am not recruiting people to come vote for a bunch of chickens without direction.

  19. Glanvillia
    September 26, 2014

    Why aren’t we hearing from the Nassief who was the dollar a Year minister.

    Obviously the Labor Party and the administration need to finance the sudden and irrational spending and so why don’t they impose more taxes on the alien food stuff – the imported Pizza, KFC, Subway if they still alive and all that stuff that is causing so much illness and obesity in Dominica today. But alas if they do that we just might hear from those who deliberately wanted the agricultural industry dead by telling us agriculture is a has been industry. The very same people who are making millions from the imported foods while our farmers have become poor and Red Clinic patients

  20. Citizen
    September 26, 2014

    Dominica is the only State in Caricom without an entry tax. St Lucia tax is about $50.00 US dollars :?:

    • dafriend
      September 29, 2014

      And…? We have to do what works for us. The others have to do what works for them. But just because all the others do have it, does not mean that we need it as well. I am telling you, at that moment in time it’s an absolute stupid thing to do: on one hand encouraging tourist to visit our country and on the other hand punishing them straight away with yet another tax.

    • just saying
      September 29, 2014

      A Dominican are the lowest paid, most unemployed in the Caribbean, while St Lucia keeps leading.
      And if you read well, would have seen, it once set,,,THE POOR people that would be left to pay that additional tax, not every body and definitely not those who can afford.

      All those who can afford and travel regularly are exempted from the tax for what the …k

  21. Observer
    September 26, 2014

    Wait a while. Is that the same Nassief that recently said Dominica does not need an international airport, that is talking air access as one of the major stumbling block to tourism? Correct me if I am wrong please. So Mr. Blackmore is agreeing with the UWP that that tax will hurt tourism? And he agree on consultation with the stakeholders to come of with plan to ameliorate the situation in Dominica? This whole response just galvanized by support for UWP and their approach to improve our economic conditions in Dominica.

  22. wht
    September 26, 2014

    another technical way of sucking more money from the Dominican people. and the wealthy ones are exempted when u analyze it properly

  23. Mamizoo
    September 26, 2014

    Well when we put idiots and a juvenile to run the affairs of state while the people who are suppose to be on guard are caught with their heads in a compromising hole and getting Brown nosed – what on earth do we expect.

    I am not sure how many of us have really contemplated the severe damage that was inflicted on our country by this jouvenile,idiots and Brown nose combination. Team Dominica is saying all the right things but I am not sure they fully grasp the magnitude of the mess and chaos that our country is in.
    Should the team UWP assume office they will be met with grave surprises. I am talking about a financial audit system with trails to nowhere; The country’s finance embedded in a cesspool; Accounts of tax payer money in offshore bank accounts;
    The disappearance and migration of the over US $2 million donated by the US for the coast guard base.

    Off more consequence will be the fact human resource required for the productivity of the nation is totally lacking. A generation of tradesmen gone – the masons , carpenters, farmers, craftsmen and women is totally destroyed and lacks continuity. The existing farmers are too old ( to harm intended) to hold down the fortress – their children saw no interest in continuing the farm. Tradesmen and craft men left also are near retirement and the children have fled.
    A massive effort will be required to rebuild the productive human resource bank in Dominica. Team Dominica is talking about going back to agriculture and reenergizing other productive sectors and that is very much needed but the task ahead is much greater than what meets the eye. We will need immediate programs at the college to train young masons, carpenters, farmers, auto repair etc. I am talking about Fast Track programs for apprentices, Journeymen, foremen etc and an on job site training.

    What we are experiencing in Dominica now with these crazy and irrational action and statements by the elected officials is the coming apart of the masks or plaster used to cover up the deep wounds and flaws that was imposed on us with the imposition of Roosevelt Skerrit and an administration of Mal Papaille. Many thought that the country was doing well when what was happening is really a country that was operating on hand outs from brother chavez, a one time source of support from china with it’s own agenda, a few bucks from Kadaffi. Behind this façade the country was not producing or building capability and capacity.

    Under Roosevelt Skerrit what have we done for ourselves? What did we do to insure that when the Chavez and Chinese dollar is gone that we can hold our own. Well inevitable the curtain is drawn and here it is we have a cast of characters who have been lying cheating and lip sinking. A country now in a state of malaise and severe poverty. And even as these fake characters are shamefully exposed whether via self destruction or the working hand of truth they continue to put on a show called Ponzi Scheme vote buying. Shameless and heartless criminals desperate to save themselves from vacationing at the stock farm hotel.

    The old saying that the higher the monkey climb is the more it expose it’s behind is so very much applicable to the government administration. Monkey likes flinging their ……. but don’t like to expose their behind. Well this administration had been flinging ………… for a long time while they keep climbing up high but the higher they climb is the more they expose and as in “Shakespearism” he who climb high fear to fall and he who lay low fear no fall

  24. CYRIL Volney
    September 26, 2014

    Gregor, you are my HERO!

    • just saying
      September 29, 2014

      Sorry I cannot say the same for you Volney/Vole

      Instead of riding on another mans back/comment/input, read, think and come up with you own views on the matter.

      give us the chance to make you our hero too.

  25. Evolved
    September 26, 2014

    Nassief’s comments were those of a true Labourite …………….. No mention of the fact that this was decided with no consultation with the tourism industry and persons like himself – The DLP does not care what people have to say – they know it all – they got caught hence the reason for the delay – Labour must GO!

  26. dubux
    September 26, 2014

    allll the bloody monney skerite have wasting doing all kia marge’ he kia use it to maintain the port facilities he want ro add new tax on people back. man move yor …. therr . calll the bloody election my boii!!! people surfering in the country and u people there driving expensve vehicle and saving big money in bank and fulling all your familly and them bank book. comout there bro !!! we doe want u and ur old dirty cabals runing our country!!!

  27. AA
    September 26, 2014

    Now here is the problem that needs to be addressed instead of placing additional taxes on people, making an already noncompetitive product even more noncompetitive. The problem started when this government decided to merge all of the ports into one, hence the air and sea port authority. However despite the government merging the two, the revenue from the departure taxes still continued to go to the consolidated funds for government to spend rather than go to the port authority. So in effect the GOVT passed on all of the cost to the port authority, whilst at the same time the revenue being generated is kept for the sole use of the GOVT. This is the reason that the port authority is not able to maintain the facilities and has to look at raising additional revenue and Mr. goodwill should say that and stop spewing garbage.

    The solution to the problem is simple without increasing taxes on people:

    1. Government should stop using the port as a dumping ground for people and allow the management of the port to run the port efficiently and stop employing personnel for the port.

    2. Allocate the revenue being collected at the airport to the port authority to be able to maintain its facilities

    There should be no increase in taxes on travellers

  28. Lang Mama
    September 26, 2014

    To prevent a dog from biting they use a Dog Muzzle
    To prevent a PIG from ” Fooowaisying Larbooo” they put a ring on the pig nose.
    (Marigot people Fooowaisying Larbooo” means digging in the mud or even crap

    To cut the dog libido they cut the balls

    All you what can we do to prevent these desperados with the exception of Ian Douglas and Tony Astaphan from putting their foot in their mouth nuh? Somebody , anybody.

    By the way there is no cure for Ian and Tony but at the same time we want them to keep talking cause when they both put their feet in mouth it comes thru their – you know what.

    The arrogant Kairi Queen too we must allow her to put her foot in her mouth and maybe she will find thee cure for multiplication problem.

  29. Lang Mama
    September 26, 2014

    All you which show shall we send this Blackmore Macackwi
    What about the show called called ” When Kids say or do dumb things”

    What about the TV Show Jack A***sss

    What about putting the joke on Readers Digest Laughter Is The Best Medicine

    What about the show Funny videos

    Oh Oh Candid Camera

    At 18 minutes to 3 O’clock (18-3) no consultation is required. Now that the clock turn upside down at 9 minutes to 12 O’clock (9-12). Consultation is important and necessary.

    All the time Nassief and others remain silent now the water is about to flood their property.

    Like my grand ma use to say Sakwais S****lop :oops: :mrgreen: . All you want consultation now and some of all you are about to feel the storm

  30. DA/can Wth a Brain
    September 26, 2014

    This government is brainless and clueless. Does it even study the economies of other islands like Antigua, he Bahamas, Barbados etc, just regular islands in its class, to see how they grow their economies? Or just do an online course on Economics and/or Finance. …….do anything to learn how to govern a country without breaking the people’s backs with more and more taxes. I am preparing to come to DA for Independence, still have a hard time pinning down an airfare………. Up to the $1100 – $1500 and beyond, and thers another tax on me upon entry? When I’m sure I’ll be dumping at least $US800 into the economy with my spending???????

    That’s why I’m already planning NOT O RETIRE In Dominica..a country that I love. I prefer to go to some other island where I can enjoy my middle and señor years. Skerrits is driving DA down the toilet!!!!!!!!!!! I feel so sad. Dominica was good to me growing up

  31. Mamizoo
    September 26, 2014

    Even an elementary school kid can pick this garbage excuses apart.
    After hearing Blackmore state that going forward they will consult with stake holders I ask – How low can these guys stoop. After 14 years in government they are only now recognizing the importance of consultation. But then again these are the same guys who wanted to redefine and “undefined the word ” CONSULTATION”. Not only that they have publically and arrogantly stated that they dont intend to listen to advises particularly from anyone who criticize their unilateral policies. In addition anyone who dare oppose their policies need “to lock themselves in a toilet” or ” go play with themselves”. The recordings are all available for everyone to listen so this is not a Mamizoo propaganda.

    In my opinion Nassief should have been swinging for the fences but I also understand that ruffling feathers is never good for business. Nevertheless anger from the DHTA would easily be justified particularly when the PM is talking about Dream Hotels and phantom MOU and simultaneously sneaking in taxes that would affect existing and struggling hotels in Dominica.

    I am dumbfounded that the tax had been in place for 10 years and only now on the eave of a general election where the administration is very much less popular that the administration has decided to ” enforce’ the tax. Is it me or this just does not make sense? Is it that they just very desperate and that the willy Nilly spending of our tax dollars for votes must be subsidized by further torturing the overburdened tax payers.

    Did Hartley Henry or Emmanuel Nanthan advise this? By the way both of them don’t have degrees.

  32. OH Yeah
    September 26, 2014

    You kinda late with this aren’t you ….where were you when these discussions were taking place before this VAT measure was implemented. Why didn’t you bring these concerns to the table before it was included in the House Debate. You people just talk talk and more hot air talking. What measures have you put in place to work with the government to encourage a better environment for the Tourism. Why didn’t you publish these concerns…let the public know what you have in mind. Why now come and complain about it. I listened to the debate and I am in agreement with the opposition on this matter. Spend more time dealing with the actual issues and not wait for when the measures you asked for are passed in the house and then come and talk as if you are so concerned.

    • Me
      September 26, 2014

      I hope you are not implicating mr. Nassief in the introduction of VAT to Dominica, which took place in 2006. Mr. Nassief had not even started construction of his Secret Bay resort at that time.

  33. Doc. Love
    September 26, 2014

    The red horse has already bolted out of the stable, therefore, what is the point of the consultation. Skeritt always gets whatever he wants. The only way Mr. Nassief, DHTA and Dominicans by extension can change the inevitable is to remove this wicked Government from office.

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