The Freundel Stuart administration is facing more pressure within its ranks over the Municipal Solid Waste Tax.
The latest official to speak out against its implementation is Government legislator James Paul, who has suggested that the tax could cause the prices of produce to rise.
Paul, the chief executive officer of the Barbados Agricultural Society, has warned that BAS will not sit idly by on this issue and intends to seek a meeting with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler.
“We recognise that it will have an impact and we will make representation on this. While we recognise the responsibilities of the Government, we also recognise that at the same time if we can find a way to cushion the impact that this tax could have on the sector, bearing in mind the fact that we are already operating with high costs, that we want to find a way to cushion that impact,” Paul said.
“The fact of the matter is that I could think of operations like dairy that use a lot of land, once they have a building on the property it is going to attract the tax. The same applies to a vegetable farm.”
Paul was speaking at a press conference held on the weekend where he also disclosed that Sandals Barbados is interested in sourcing all of its produce locally.
The BAS head was full of praise for the hotel chain, which, he said, has shown it is willing to work with the sector.
“I heard people in the tourism industry picking at Sandals and saying how the Government give them all these concessions. We [the BAS] sat down and had a meeting with [them] two weeks ago and Sandals Hotels have indicated that they are prepared to sit down and work with the local agricultural sector to see how they can source 100 per cent of the produce that they buy from the local agricultural sector. That is what they have indicated, but I still hear hotels crying out ‘oh I want the concessions’ but they don’t want the concession that they can buy the local vegetables or local produce.
“They want the concession so that they can import more and here it is that we have a Sandals coming in saying we want to buy local. A lot of these players have been here all the time why can’t they do the same thing. It is not an unreasonable request and I would say this. As long as God gives me breath no body is going to shut me up on this issue,” Paul stated.