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Pegasus Hotel owner denies entering politics because he didn’t get tax breaks

Leader of Change Guyana (CG), Robert Badal on Tuesday bluntly denied entering Guyana’s electoral race because he did not get 50 percent of concessions that he was “entitled to” from the government for the construction of the Pegasus Suites and Corporate Centre.

“The plain answer is no… The answer is no. Let’s move on,” he said as he became impatient with persistent questions about whether he was upset, angry or aggrieved that he did not get all of the tax breaks. “We need questions on the issues. That’s why we called you guys. I said my motivation is the plight of the Guyanese people and we’re addressing the electricity sector,” he told a news conference.

Badal said that he was never angered or aggrieved by the fact that the government did not grant him concessions for the offices, only the accommodation. “I contested that because this is a tourism company and offices are also related to tourism.”

At the same time, he lamented for several minutes the fact that the government-owned Marriott-branded hotel has not paid withholding, property and other taxes for 10 years. “We’re paying taxes all the while. Marriott never paid taxes in this country and they got all those concessions. There is something fundamentally wrong with the minds of the leadership in this country,” he said.

Mr. Badal said he had raised his concerns with the government for more than two years, but his concerns did not trigger his entry into politics. Citing low wages, joblessness, daily blackouts, crime and destitution across the country, he said he was motivated by the need for Guyana to create wealth to deal with social ills.

“Concession has nothing to do with my direction into the politics that we are in now,” he said.

Mr. Badal emphasised that “I am not aggrieved, I have never been angry” because he did not get all of the concessions. “I don’t make political support for benefits. I have never asked for anything other than what I am entitled to,” he said.

He said he and his prime ministerial running mate, Nigel Hinds, were not in politics because of the need for money, but they are doing so at great sacrifice.