(REALNEWS)The Barbuda Council has been making good strides in reducing its payment arrears to workers and service-providers, according to MP Trevor Walker.
Last year, the Council reported it was having difficulty in meeting these obligations. Weekly-paid Council workers, at that time, were owed for 43 weeks, while the monthly-paid employees were owed for five months.
The Central Government reportedly had not been paying its monthly subsidy of $500,000 – a unilaterally reduced allocation – on time.
Despite this, MP Walker says, the Council has made significant progress and has brought down its arrears to fewer than nine weeks for weekly paid workers and less than three months for its monthly paid staff.
Walker notes that reducing this debt was effected without any assistance from the Gaston Browne Administration, but was managed with God’s grace.
He says the Council went on a drive to collect all outstanding tax revenues due to the Barbuda Council from those persons who have generated revenues on the island.
The Council, based on a 2008 Act of Parliament, has the vested right to collect ABST. However, Walker explains, after the Barbuda People’s Movement (BPM) regained control of the Council in 2018, it was discovered that all the ABST revenue collected on the sister-island was being paid directly to Antigua.
Walker says that, over time, and with a lot of struggle and letter-writing to the various businesses on Barbuda, the Council was able to recommence tax collection to help settle its outstanding obligations, including arrears to staff.
Meanwhile, he is calling Prime Minister Browne to pay to the Council what the law says it should be getting, because the money is not his, personally, but belongs to the Barbuda Council.