Minister responsible for the Social Security Board Ronnie Skelton has tried to explain why legal action was not pursued against the state-owned Prospect Reef Resort, which owed Social Security contributions for four consecutive years ending 2016.
Considering the outrageously high level of delinquency by the State entity, Opposition member Julian Fraser today (March 9) asked the minister why legal action was not taken.
The minister told the House of Assembly that delinquent employers are usually prosecuted if they – at the very least – fail to make suitable payment arrangements for six months.
“[Prospect Reef was not prosecuted] because there were arrangements being made to pay whenever the situation came up for four years. That’s all I can say,” the minister said.
Asked if such courtesy is extended to others delinquents, the minister replied: “Yes, up to six months.”
Large debt paid since public disclosure
In December last year, Premier Dr D Orlando Smith was made to publicly admit that Prospect Reef Resort was not paying its income tax, as well as monthly contributions to National Health Insurance (NHI) and the Social Security Board.
It is not clear if the outstanding contributions, to date, have been paid in relation to NHI and income tax.
However, when questioned if the outstanding sums were paid to Social Security, the minister indicated that Prospect Reef has paid up the amounts since the matter was made public.
He said the resort paid $30,975 for the year 2013. It paid $30,156 for the year 2014, and $31,027 for the year 2015.
According to the minister, arrangements are being made to have Prospect Reef pay the outstanding $31,129 for the year 2016.
The Social Security Board has no intention of writing off the debt incurred by Prospect Reef Resort. The Social Security Board is working with the relevant agencies to ensure that all monies due are paid,” the minister said.
Asked if the debt will be completely paid before the resort is turned over to a private investor known as ICA BVI Group, the minister replied: “The Social Security Board is working with the present prospect reef administration and the Premier’s Office to cover whatever debt is owed.”
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