Despite the setback in collecting millions of dollars in gaming taxes, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest says that at the end of the day that significant stream revenue will be collected.
Currently, there is a standoff between the government and gaming operators over increased taxes has stretched into months.
“It is affecting some of the issues that the previous questions raised in terms of our ability to liquidate our arrears as regularly and consistently as we would like, because there’s no way that you can have a hold of $24 or $34 million and that not affect something.
“So, it is having some effect. We will work our way through it, but we do anticipate collecting every penny of the government’s revenue,” he said.
The Finance Minister made it clear though that this has not led to degradation in services the government provides.
“As you rightly say, there are service providers of goods and services who have done their part, who have completed their commitment to the government. They ought to be able to get paid, but the only way that we can pay them is if we have the resources to do it.
“So when we have any sector of the government deciding unilaterally that they are going to deprive the government of revenue, at the end of the day they’re not really depriving the government of the revenue, they are depriving, the services providers and all of these persons who have served the community legitimately and are entitled to compensation.
“They’re depriving them from economic activity and from the livelihood and capital they need in order to continue in business,” Mr. Turnquest said.
The government has imposed a sliding scale tax – that climbs as high as 50 per cent in some cases – on gaming houses.
There will be a five per cent tax on gaming patrons.
Decrying this as an unfair arrangement, gaming bosses have taken the government to court.
The court has imposed an injunction in the matter. Supreme Court Justice Indra Charlesn has also instructed both sides to sit and discuss the merits of the case.
Minister Turnquest said the government continues to have discussions with gaming operators in hopes of coming to an understanding on why the government has taken such a position.