The Nation’s Online Editor Sherrylyn Toppin looks at What’s Trending today in Barbados. Operators of international hotel chain Sandals have been “gifted a sweet deal to establish its brand here”. According to today’s lead story in the Weekend Nation: “For the next 25 years, the international conglomerate has been exempted from paying all import duties, taxes including VAT, imposts and levies of any nature whatsoever on the importation or local purchase on all capital goods needed for the equipping, operation and promotion of the hotel, as well as on all food and beverages. And when that tax holiday period is over, Sandals will only be required to pay half of the “applicable rates and taxes prevailing” for the next 15 years”.” This news was met with outrage by online readers who queried why local hotel operators were not being given the same concessions. This is what some of them had to say. Robert Goode: Sweet deal indeed, but for whom? This deal … was a big foot move that will be an albatross around the necks of the taxpayers of Barbados for the next 40 years – long after the dealmakers are all gone. Michael Goddard: Sweet for Sandals, sour for all other businesses. This is blatant corporate welfare. If the minister really wanted to assist the industry he would have reduced the tax burden on ALL tourism players. Instead, he has picked a favourite and given them an unfair advantage against their competitors. Orson Arthur: That is a sweet deal. Can that be extended to some of the other hotels that trying to make it? Carlene De Boss George: I hope this savings is passed on to the guests. Kathie Daniel Fertur Lux: If they had given REDjet concessions like this, they might still be flying. Pearl Davy: [I] Just got here from Canada, and I think Barbados is selling itself out. If they can afford to give this deal to Sandals, what’s wrong with giving it to the people of Barbados? Ross Charles: This is absolutely ridiculous! The country is in serious need of an economic boost and the Government is giving away freebies to multi-billion dollar companies like candy! It’s time for change.