As many as four legal claims have been brought against the Commissioner of General Sales Tax in the wake of a 2018 decision handed down by the Caribbean Court of Justice in a case against tour operator David Gegg. This morning, attorneys representing individual claimants, including Jaguar Ventures of Belize, Hugh Parkey’s Belize Dive Connection, Chukka Belize and Daylight & Darknight Cave Adventures appeared in the courtroom of Justice Courtney Abel where the suit was scheduled to be heard all-in-one.
The reason for the four parties appearing together was primarily due to the nature of the claim being brought, as well as in the interest of expediency and cost effectiveness for the court. In the case where the C.C.J. ruled in favor of Gegg’s Cruise Solutions Limited and Discovery Expeditions Limited, the Government of Belize was ordered to compensate the businessman more than four hundred thousand dollars, plus six percent simple interest per annum. The total to be paid to Gegg was more than half a million Belize dollars.
The government, however, amended the law to avoid payment, but the C.C.J. decision has set a legal precedence for other tour operators to sue the GST Department, since the decision of the appellate court is that tour operator services in Belize are not legally required to pay GST. Jaguar Ventures and Hugh Parkey are represented by Coye Courtenay, Chukka is represented by Magali Marin Young and Company, while Daylight and Darknight, owned by American businessman Bradley Paumen, is represented by Estevan Perrera and Company. The matter has been adjourned to March twenty-fifth and twenty-seventh.