Arthur: I didn’t approve tax waivers
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has confirmed that Elliott Mottley, father of Barbados Labour Party (BLP) leader Mia Mottley, did apply for a tax waiver.
In the same breath, however, Arthur has maintained that he denied approving any such waiver and also left it up to the BLP leader to clear the air.
Arthur was speaking yesterday during a Press conference at Barbados Today in Lodge Hill, St Michael, as he responded to statements made by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on Sunday night.
“I am in a position to say that I am aware of the fact that Miss Mottley’s father would have applied to me for a waiver of the tax,” he said.
Arthur noted that ministers of finance reserved the right to waive a tax with the approval of Cabinet on the condition the matter was also taken to Parliament and approved at that level.
While denying his approval of such an event, Arthur explained he could not confirm if the waiver took place behind his back, as Stuart suggested.
However, having recently heard similar comments, he called for the BLP leader to explain if she was involved.
“So it’s for her, if she was involved in it, to explain how it happened,” he said.
Speaking at a DLP national meeting at Carlisle Car Park, The City, Stuart called for the BLP leader to tell the public whether or not her father benefited from tax waivers.
“Elliott Deighton Mottley had two judgments lodged against him for monies due and owing to the Income Tax Department upwards of $1 million,” Stuart said.
“In 1998, I walked into the Registry one morning and everyone had frowns on their faces. They were saying that here it is that we have to pay our taxes but yet over $400 000 of that tax obligation was being written off by the Owen Arthur administration.”
Stuart said that while Arthur denied the request, the transaction was still completed as soon as he left the country.
The Prime Minister also said that during the merger of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Barclays into FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), a circumvention by a member of Cabinet had cost the country $87 million in property transfer tax and stamp duty.
On that matter, Arthur was adamant he did not get involved in any matters related to FCIB while he was Prime Minister, as he was a shareholder and did not participate in that situation.
Stuart also levelled another charge, saying that in 2013, the BLP leader arranged a meeting between Arthur, another Caribbean country and Venezuela in order to discuss campaign financing in exchange for Barbados changing its policy position.
Arthur confirmed this as true and said the meeting was held with the goal of getting him to go to Venezuela and meet with then president Hugo Chavez.
He said the discussion would be about getting campaign financing on the condition that Arthur would change the position he held on PetroCaribe and participate in that oil alliance. (AD)