By JOAN THOMPSON
Ishmael Lightbourne, consultant to the Ministry of Finance, in an ad hominem attack on the Nassau Institute describes the research report, ‘Consequences of the Value Added Tax for Bahamas’, as being “extreme, ridiculous, exaggerated and inaccurate”, and is being read because it “bashes” the Government.
Mr Lightbourne also accuses the Institute of promoting ideology he describes as “spending cuts to reduce the size of government and slashing the fiscal deficit”. Pity governments of both political parties failed to foresee the consequences of reckless spending and the ever growing public debt. There may now be concerns about the creditworthiness of the country’s debt among the lenders. The increased risk attracts higher interest rates for the lenders, and the likelihood of lower living standards for the borrowers, the Bahamian tax payer.
As for the statement “it is only being read because it ‘bashes’ the Government”, Mr Lightbourne may not know that businesses across the country are reducing hours of employment, cutting margins, trimming expenses and other measures to compensate for currently reduced economic activity and ever-increasing costs.
The Economic Consequences of the VAT are real and every business and retiree needs to know how his life, his company and his bank account will be affected by the Value Added Tax (VAT).
Bashing government may be an outlet for genuine fears and frustrations. Who would blame them?