Britain-born, naturalised Vincentian businessman Dave Ames. (IWN photo)

The charges against fugitive businessman, Dave Ames, shows that prosecutors are inclined to take action against persons who do not pay into the Government taxes deducted from wages and value added tax receipts, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves told the media last week.

The Crown has brought several theft and tax evasion charges against Ames, who has British and Vincentian citizenship.

Persecutors are claiming that he failed to pay over to the state some EC$7 million in trust monies.

Ames is founder of Harlequin Hotels and Resorts, parent company of Buccament Bay Resort Ltd. and Harlequin Property SVG Ltd.

He left St. Vincent in June after being summoned to court to answer the charges, but before the court hearing, and is now considered a fugitive.

Speaking on the matter last week, Gonsalves, who is Minister of Finance, Legal Affair and National Security, said:

“I just want to say this, that something which is salutary, which persons who are alleged … to have deducted P.A.Y.E. taxes and not pay them over to Income Tax and who collect VAT, which are clearly trust monies … I hope that employers realise that they can be subject not only to a civil process but also to a process within the framework of the criminal law.”

Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer, said the basic principle of the law is that the pay as you earn (P.A.Y.E.) and the VAT monies are funds held by the employers in trust for the State.

“And it is your duty to pay it over in a particular period of time. That’s why the law has certain high penalties from a civil standpoint,” he said.

He, however, told reporters that the tax authorities try their best to have voluntary compliance and will work with people over and over.

“But the point comes when the tax authorities have to decide that our patience has worn thin and that we have to do something. It is the same way what happens in the US. Maybe the inland revenue in the US, their patience is a little shorter than here, but, I think it is the first time, correct me if I am wrong, that the Director of Public Prosecution has been sent a file.

“And if the Director of Public Prosecutions is sent a file for one taxpayer who is a British national and a Vincentian national, it means that he is at liberty to send similar files,” Gonsalves said.

He, however, noted that what action is taken is the judgment of the DPP, who is the complainant.

“So I’m urging that persons who owe VAT and who owe PAYE, that they deduct the tax and don’t pay it over, and they collect the VAT and don’t pay it over, that you may say that, ‘Well, what can they do? My business is running to the ground.’ Well, if you are the owner of the business or the manager, the miner of the business, there are other steps which the authorities can take, which is an important point to bear in mind,” Gonsalves said.

Wanted businessman Dave Ames left SVG legally after being summoned to court

12 replies on “Charges against Ames a warning for businesses — PM”

  1. Outside of SVG, does anyone even pay attention to this PM? I really believe the Govrnment of SVG is dead broke, just the country not the PM because the truth as to his wealth have already been proven. There could be election in the air and not because of the NDP petition but because he wants to put his dynasty in order, if ppl in SVG don’t see it, their blinder that what the World already. Ames own money as far back as 2011 and he was not troubled about it, was it because he was the PM best buddy and now PM in need of cash, Ames flew over the Coko nest.. For the smartest leader in the Caribbean you can trump by Ames, but then again. Hmmm!

  2. I know this post will not be posted but I must ask, why are reporters in SVG not diving into the marrow of these topic, is there so much fear of your PM that you guys are so afraid to really investigate these matter and ask other question to Your PM such as why it took so many years to bring Ames to court, is the seaport a normal means to exit a country, how many more business in country owed vat, will they confiscate buccament resort for non payment etc.. Seems like the Government has a lock on the mouth of reporters. I don’t expect this to be posted , and I do understand I am dealing with Vincentians.

    1. Jeannine James says:

      This leader got a jackass of a country to ride. He used all of his natural attributes and continues to take full advantage of the state and condition of the majority of the people. He understands our psychoses but he doesn’t understand his own. Just take a casual look at his MPs, his Cabinet: totally snuffed out, bullied and voiceless except when they are dancing and high-stepping in back of him on a campaign platform. They give the clear impression that they have no concept of anything.

      Then there is the restricted, grateful core that he keeps fat, fed and watered. Gonsalves has ruined, undermined, demoralized and enfeebled the country’s public service mainly by the creation of spurious, unnecessary shell companies to provide sinecures for the comfort of he and his restricted core. He ennobles and enshrines poverty because it is his sharpest tool to break the people, underdevelop them and blind them. It can be no other way. Ship sailed.

    2. C. ben-David says:

      You are quite wrong to implicitly condemn iWitness News.

      Sure many row our so-called reporters practice self-censorship out of either fear or timidity; others are too doltish to see past the end of their nose; still others are bought and paid for ULP supporters.

      But Kenton X. Chance stands head and shoulders above all of these pathetic excuses of journalist integrity by single-handedly, independently, and fearlessly revealing the true nature of so many issues that would otherwise go unnoticed or unreported.

      If not for Mr. Chance, we would surely be left in the dark about so many political and other happenings.

  3. C. ben-David says:

    The Ames issue is just the tip of the iceberg: hundreds of Vincentians, high and low, rich and poor (indebted), fail to pay or grossly underpay their annual income tax, not one of whom has ever been imprisoned for tax evasion as regularly occurs in most civilized countries.

  4. Janassy, incredible! Isn’t it? Well, it is also funny … if it was not such a serious matter. But the Government set the precedent when it failed to pay over civil servant tax monies and then have to resort to borrow money from the NIS to pay the NIS. What ah COMADIE storie! Dem people need some good licks wid ah bull pistle. An me naah ah trark bout Graham Bullers … shew no mek dem heah me say dat. Dem nite say me warne fe insult ah big shot in the ULP an den cum afta me like dey did the woman at the Cobblestone Inn. But me ah wan vagrant in SVG. The onlie ting they could get fram me is bad publicitie an mo disrespect.

    Me garn

    Vinci Vin

  5. Not condoning wrongs, I support penalizing ones who try to evade taxes. However, what is good for the goose, the same should be good for the gander. That said, I think Ralph should be penalized for with-holding civil servants NIS contributions amounting to millions of dollars.

  6. warning? HE was only charged because of the proceeding that was brought against him elsewhere, therefore the crown had NO CHOICE but to take shame out their faces. He owed monies for months, why only now being charged? Coincidence? SMDH!

  7. I doubt there is any more to squeeze from him so it was time to make him run, now the state can appoint a receiver and grab it all and resell it.

    Ames will never face prosecution in SVG, in fact I would warn him to watch out because people have disappeared or been killed here for much less than what he knows or what he has done.

    1. C. ben-David says:

      Peter, you have got to be kidding: who would ever by this incredibly indebted and multiple law-suited facility?

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