Springer reports to BHTA membership


IT is hoped that the new system regarding the application process for liquor licences should be in place by the beginning of next year.
Delivering the administrative report at the Barbados Hotel and Tourism Association’s Fourth Quarterly Meeting at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre earlier this week, outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Sue Springer, said the BHTA raised concerns regarding the application process during a meeting with the Minister responsible for liquor licences, Donville Inniss, after which he met with all the key stakeholders to discuss the current system and to obtain recommendations. She told those gathered that the Ministry has reviewed the suggestions and a paper has been presented to Cabinet on the matter.
Among the suggestions that were put forward, she said, were that the licences should be renewed similarly to driver’s licences and that they would be renewed every two years, rather than annually.
“Whether or not that actually comes in the final draft, those are two of the things we asked for because a lot of time is spent by persons going up to the court, sitting in the court at the beginning of January and waiting to obtain a licence, which actually takes like two seconds,” she said.
Additionally, Springer revealed that the BHTA continues to meet quarterly with the Barbados Revenue Authority and Customs to discuss issues raised by the membership. She added that a submission has been made to the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport regarding the second schedule of the Tourism Development (Amendment) Act, which she explained has been sent to the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs and they are awaiting further information. Her comments came as she said that the issue in relation to the reduction of the value added tax rate to 7.5 per cent for direct tourism services membership is still ongoing and is also in the hands of the Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs.
“The additional food items to be added for duty free concessions have progressed no further. This is of grave concern to all of us as the sector once again will not have the benefits of these concessions for the upcoming winter season,” she added.
Meanwhile, as it relates to the BHTA’s relationship with the Barbados Workers’ Union (BWU), she announced that all the backpay and the increase in wages for 2016 have been paid by all of their hotel members, and draft protocols with respect to three of the issues that are outstanding for the completion of the BWU collective agreement have been submitted to the Union for their review. Those protocols, Springer said, are in respect of temporary seasonal layoffs due to downturn in business; the administration of service charge under the collective agreement; and the suggested guidance for scheduling employees covered by the BHTA/BWU collective agreement. She said the intention of the parties is to obtain consensus before the end of this year. (JRT)

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