The new 15% tax on the cost of freight and insurance on all incoming items is now being reduced to 5% for some building materials, including cement, sand, steel rods and blocks. This news coming from finance minister Washington Misick represents an almost instant reversal of the tax approved by the House of Assembly just days ago.
It appears the change may have come about as the result of complaints by several developers who could be moving forward in coming years. One project of note is St Charles Place on North Caicos, which was started by the Misick family. The project, which was to include four condominium towers at Horse Stable Beach, had only one completed. However, not long after the building was completed, the roof leaked, destroying a large portion of the interior units.
The building was erected using local labour by Johnston International Limited, which is now in receivership. It is now believed that the project is being refinanced and may be built out. However the original development was not able to market its high priced units.
Another reportedly refinanced project is the Ritz Carlton franchised resort on West Caicos, which stalled due to US-based Lehman Brothers suffering a 2008 bankruptcy. This project used Chinese workers, who were stranded when worked stopped at about 70% complete.