Nassau, Bahamas: Captain Jackson Ritchie and the staff of Global United Limited appeal to Minister of Finance, The Right Honorable Prime Minister Hubert A. Ingraham to sit down with him and his legal advisors as the case might be, in order to work out an agreement that will benefit not only the Government, but the GUL staff but all the other local companies that are owed? These are unusual times and how we got to this point is now irrelevant, after the dust has cleared level heads must prevail and the parties should sit down and examine the FACTS and ensure that something like this does not happen again. As Minister Laing said in his comments on TV Global United situation is indeed “UNIQUE”, unique in that;
1) UNIQUE We are the only company being targeted Publicly in this way
2) UNIQUE in that while Hotels and Casinos collect millions of dollars in taxes when visitors check in or when they win at the casino many of these funds have not yet been paid into the Treasury and the Public Treasury has not sued them –is that because perhaps they have payment plans in place?.
3) UNIQUE in that many foreign companies have closed shop and left without paying Government or employees and it does not appear that the Government has filed legal action against any of them.
4) UNIQUE in that while the HEADLINES Scream “ Disastrous” Govt. revenue collection, the Government refuses to work out a payment plan with a Bahamian Company that wants to ensure they pay what is due the Public Treasury.
5) UNIQUE in that this whole fiasco was caused by uninformed employees at the Public Treasury who do not understand business, who do not understand that while the law may say one thing, what happens in practice is quite another thing. For example attached is letter from Mr. Mullings at the Treasury confirming that Departure taxes are to be paid within 10 days after they are collected? Well if that is truly enforced all Travel agencies and Cruise Lines would be indebted to the Public Treasury to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars and like Global United should be served with Statutory demands by the AG. Whilst I am sure, just like Global United, all efforts are made to collect these taxes, companies are delinquent in remitting taxes to the government in a timely fashion. Just as these seemingly uninformed employees embarrassed the former Minister by launching an attack on GUL, they are now causing embarrassment to the current Minister by withholding facts.
6) UNIQUE in that after following established practice for years, GUL trade payables were called in instantly. GUL used to have over $125 million flowing through its accounts in a given year. Obviously with the Government being its largest vendor its largest trade payable would be to the Government, therefore to have these payables suddenly called would almost instantly destroy any company.
7) UNIQUE in that despite this unreasonable action, and because GUL could not determine when its vendors would pay it, GUL instead directed its clients to pay the Government directly. GUL did this and not the Government as alleged by the Prime Minister in the House of assemble on Wednesday.
8) UNIQUE in that we have made several offers to settle and all have been REJECTED or ignored. After the January 2008 proposal was REJECTED and Minister Laing in making what I perceive to be very damaging comments in April 2008, the Company sent in another proposal which our Bank agreed to guarantee IF Customs accepted the Proposal .Well in a classic catch 22 situation, Customs refused to accept the plan unless the bank guaranteed it in writing and the bank refused to guarantee the plan unless Customs accepted it in writing. This plan would have paid $400,000.00 a month and if accepted the balance would have been paid off by mid 2009. Instead the Government‘s next move was to file the 4 lawsuits.
9) UNIQUE in that the while the Minister of Finance and Prime Minister can meet with foreign investors at the drop of a hat, he does not seem to have either the time or interest to meet with a Bahamian who has served his country, a Bahamian who is striving to ensure that a part of our economy is held by locals, a son of the soil who employs hundreds of Bahamians., The Minister of Finance to our dismay would not even return phone calls, but instead preferred in a very demeaning way to leave Captain Ritchie waiting in the lobby of the Cecil Wallace Whitfield Centre for almost an hour before sending a message that he had no time to see him.
10) UNIQUE in that during the holidays The Right Honorable Prime Minister refused to discuss the matter with 3 individuals who went to see him on behalf of the Company, to let him know the Company had secured funding and wanted to ensure the government would accept a third Payment plan.
11) UNIQUE in that when the last Payment Plan was presented, which included a $500,000.00 upfront payment the Government responded by serving the Company with four Statutory Demands threatening to wind up the Company.
Captain Ritchie heard Minister Laing’s comments in the press where he said he would advise Mr. Ritchie to not pursue this current course of action! Having seemingly exhausted all efforts to bring resolution to this matter, Mr. Ritchie welcomes receiving the advice of Minister Laing as to what course of action in his view, Mr. Ritchie should take! Surely, returning a phone call or calling a meeting to discuss the issues would seem to be the reasonable and sensible thing to do!!