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LIEN PLACED ON WESTIN RESORT --- Unpaid Room TaxesFormer Executive Council promised to change legislation.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009 13:50 User Rating: Poor /4 Best


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The Westin Resort. Philipsburg: --- The island receiver's office has placed a lien on the Westin Resort for unpaid room taxes. SMN News learnt that the lien was placed on the resort some two months ago and to date the resort has not attempted to turn over the room taxes dating back to 2004. According to reliably sources Westin did not turn over their room taxes from 2004 to 2009 simply because the former executive council led by the Democratic Party had issued them a letter of intent promising to waiver the room taxes if they were going to use those funds to further invest on the island. Westin was supposed to invest in the training of locals and other infrastructure that would have boosted the tourism industry. The former executive council had promised to grant the waiver for at least five years whenever they changed the legislation. However, to date no changes were made to the legislation and Westin did not pay any of its room taxes

which were to be turned over to the island receiver the 15th day of each month. It is not clear if the Island Receivers office ever sent them an assessment on how much must they owed government on a monthly basis. SMN News learnt that the island receivers have decided to place a lien on the resort to make sure they comply with the current tax laws and the statues of limitation. It is also understood that all resorts and or guesthouses must turn over all room taxes by the 15th of each month and they are not to wait for an assessment. The source said the Westin has sent a letter to the island government telling them they intend to launch a court action against government based on the letter of intent they received from the former executive council in 2004. The source said Westin letter came clean after they received a letter from the island receiver notifying them that they would be placing a lien on the resort for the 2004 room tax. According to Westin's claim, they are claiming the island government had raised their intention by issuing a letter where they clearly stated that the legislation was to be changed. Westin is also claiming that Curacao did the same thing some years ago for the Sonesta Resort; however, they failed to mention that Curacao had to revoke their own legislation after several resorts and guest houses protested citing discrimination.

The Westin Resort. SMN News learnt that the advisors for commissioner of finance held meetings with the head of finance Bas Roorda and the island receiver to determine what course of action would be taken in this case. The source said the island government would make sure they inform Westin that they

would have to make their payments since the current executive council would not honor the letter given to them by the former executive council. Secondly, the island government is not authorized to waiver taxes for anyone unless the law is changed; besides that changing, the legislation for them would be discriminatory. Referring to Curacao the island government it is said would inform Westin that Curacao revoked that legislation after it was determined that the legislation made for Sonesta was discriminatory. Furthermore, unless a new law is passed Westin is bound by the old laws and they must turn over monies they are holding for the island government. SMN News has also learnt that several other resorts have the same type of letter of intent from the former executive council and the island receiver is currently busy with the procedures against those resorts.