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Minnis Calls For Tax Debtors List To Be Tabled

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION leader Dr Hubert Minnis urged Prime Minister Perry Christie to table in Parliament a list of the tax status of all parliamentarians.

The demands, Dr Minnis said, also includes information on whether each MP is current with their residential real property tax payments.

Dr Minnis’ request comes as the opposition continues to apply pressure to the government over unpaid taxes following publication that VAT consultant Ishmael Lightbourne owes the government more than $7,000 in real property payments. Mr Lightbourne admitted his failure to pay the taxes for the last 10 years.

“It should not be that tax cheats,” Dr Minnis said, “are sitting over us imposing new taxes even while they fail to pay their way as required by the law.

“I for one, Mr Speaker, believe it would be appropriate for the people of the Bahamas to be informed on the tax status of their leaders beginning with the Prime Minister and Minister of Finance and the Leader of the Opposition.

“And so I call on the Prime Minister to provide for the information of Members of this Honourable House and of the Bahamian people, a list of the residential real property tax status of all members of the House of Assembly. We can at least begin there.”

Since word broke of Mr Lightbourne’s delinquent account, pundits have questioned whether the government should set its sights on tax collection. It has been said that a more efficiently run tax collection service could assist in delaying a possible VAT implementation. Dr Minnis urged the government to consider this effort.

“If the collection of these taxes is substantially improved, the imposition of this new tax, which is so painfully agonising the Bahamian people, would not need to proceed at this time, and perhaps may never need to proceed.

“Furthermore an enlightened policy on real property tax need not be a burden on the average homeowner, but would arrest the neglect of huge amounts of commercial properties leading to a considerable expansion of economic activity, consequent upon such an enlightened real property tax policy,” he said.

On Tuesday, FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner called on Mr Christie to fully disclose whether he at some point fell behind in paying his real property taxes, and, if so, the years involved.

She branded Mr Christie as the worst Prime Minister in the country’s history. Her condemnation came following his admission that he was unaware of which PLP parliamentarians, if any, were in arrears with their taxes.

Comments

B_I_D___ 6 years, 4 months ago

Do it do it do it...you already have Leslie Miller running scared with his tail between his legs...knowing his track record with BEC bills, I can only imagine his track record with real property tax and business licenses and such. I can guarantee there are tax dodgers on both sides of the fence. This is not a PLP or and FNM thing or vendetta...I want the pople to see just how much money is owed to the treasury by our very own people in power, the MP's and Senators, and then once all that is cleared, THEN we can maybe start talking about if VAT is necessary. I am not going to subject myself to the whack of VAT when people in high places and with big pockets and big mouths don't pay their damn bills.

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ohdrap4 6 years, 4 months ago

Of course they should do it. with today's headlines in the guardian, people will march against vat. civil servants by general orders are not supposed to be in financial embarassment.

Make them all disclose.

VAT is dead. lol

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 4 months ago

Gawd I hope VAT does indeed go bye bye...bad bad bad news. We just need to beat this mindset in people's heads...even the dimwits in parliament that you need to pay your bills...quit trying to raise the taxes in hopes that the upstanding and honest citizens will bear the load and pay what they are supposed to while everyone else keeps getting a free ride.

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TalRussell 6 years, 4 months ago

There was no PM Christie in the way of Comrade Minnis as the leader of his party to have done called upon all sitt'in red shirts House MP's to have come forward with their tax declarations. And, if the red leader wants be taken seriously, what about making a demand that all former red house MP's also declare their tax business with the government. What about his red Senators?

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Greentea 6 years, 4 months ago

We are starting here on both sides and if any red, green and yellow thinking about entering politics don't even bother if you haven't paid your taxes. How on earth can we have people who cannot manage their own purse, attempt to manage the country's money? I refuse to pay one dime in VAT and tell Mr. Miller everyone doesn't owe taxes. I don't owe a dime but I also don't live above my means. These politicians need to try that for a spell.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 4 months ago

Would not dare be behind on taxes or utilities...people like me would be disconnected or fined faster than you can blink...I'm not in that privileged PLP buddy buddy arena...I'm more the arch enemy...they'd find any excuse to hold my feet to the fire so I don't give them any...in the meantime my upstanding payment of taxes is bearing the burden of them letting it slide. Bullcrap!!

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Emac 6 years, 4 months ago

I wouldn't even consider being a part of that clan a priviledge; Only in the mindset of lazy ass, cheatin, non contributing Bahamians is that a priviledge!

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SP 6 years, 4 months ago

Here's a better idea. Have five guys lock the doors and windows at the next sitting of Parliament.

And cowcock all these lousy, useless politicians! (invite Hubert Ingraham too)

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Emac 6 years, 4 months ago

Who knows-Maybe this VAT thing may be the last straw that rouses the sleeping giant. Maybe Bahamians will come to together and start to demand more accountability from these crooks in suits. I truly don't condone any form of rioting, but perhaps this is what these ministers need to get them back on track. Another Burma Road riot might show them who dey workin for.

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B_I_D___ 6 years, 4 months ago

So easily overlooked...forgot that little gem that all MP's and Senators are already meant to disclose all this information with the Public Disclosures Act...ironically they are all behind in their submissions....by a decade or two...

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TalRussell 6 years, 4 months ago

The Senate Chambers, Comrades could there possibly be a better example of a more "upper" hold-over from we colonial rule era?. OK, granted the Governor-General be up there too at the top of British rule list written out by our Queen Liz.

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 4 months ago

Doc Minnis is a very wealthy man by Bahamian standards ............. he should not have much problems paying taxes.

On the other hand, some of the other politicians may not be so lucky........ it could get ugly On both sides of the political divide............... past and present

The watchword for any public servant should be INTEGRITY ....................PSC first rule

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killemwitdakno 6 years, 4 months ago

I like the way Loretta put it. MP's need to remember how they Survive off of these exemptions and people won't get that with VAT.

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