PLP chairman accuses Minnis of being a flip-flopper over VAT


Bradley Roberts


Tribune Staff Reporter


PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday branded Free National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis a “flip-flopper extraordinaire” for pledging to repeal certain categories of value added tax.

He questioned Dr Minnis’ capability to lead the country, pointing to the party’s rejection of tax reform during the House of Assembly’s debate on the issue. Mr Roberts said the time has passed for the FNM to now suggest amendments to VAT legislation and regulations.

The consumer-based tax took effect on January 1.

“As an FNM minister,” Mr Robert said in a press statement, “he agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recommendation that the Bahamas’ public finances were in need of tax reform and that VAT was the most viable option.

“When the FNM lost the election in 2012, his Cabinet colleague (Zhivargo) Laing reiterated the pro-VAT policy position of the FNM, had the party prevailed in the 2012 general elections.

“By the 2014/2015 budget debate, Minnis told the House and the Bahamian people that while he agreed that the country’s system of taxation was in need of reform, the FNM ‘was not on the VAT train.’ This was a flip-flop. He has not to this day pronounced a viable alternative. He bad mouthed the VAT policy and voted against it in Parliament.

“Days after the successful implementation of VAT with absolutely no help but strenuous opposition from Minnis and the FNM, he flip-flopped yet again telling the media that he is partly on board with VAT and would repeal some of it.

“It is both incredible and disgraceful that a person who wants to lead the Bahamas is incapable of articulating and defending a policy as important as tax reform based on principle and an appreciation for the needs of the country he claims he wants to lead.”

Mr Roberts added that Dr Minnis’ vow to repeal the tax was not the type of leadership that was beneficial to the country.

“The VAT ship has left the harbour, but Minnis wants to have one foot on the ship and one foot in the harbour. This is not the type of leadership that is beneficial to the Bahamas. He does not know his own mind therefore he cannot possibly have a firm command on the national challenges, needs of or solutions for the country.”

This comes a day after James Smith, financial advisor to the government, said Dr Minnis’ position on VAT was premature.

He cautioned the FNM to analyse the new tax system vigorously before it spoke definitively on the parts of VAT it would repeal should the party win the next general election.

On Sunday, Dr Minnis said his party is forming a plan to repeal certain categories of VAT if it wins the next election.

Dr Minnis said that a special commission has been established to look into several categories where VAT is applied, namely utilities, children’s clothing and bread basket items.

He added that the commission is also considering repealing the VAT charge on the management of pension funds.

“This government is again showing no respect for the poor or middle class,” he said on Sunday. “With an already shrinking middle class and poverty increasing, to further increase taxes (it) is an insult to the poor and middle class.

“The problem is erratic spending and poor collection of our taxes,” he added. “These are issues that must be addressed and the VAT taxes will cause great suffering in the country.

“The FNM has a committee to look into repealing sections of VAT, to protect certain areas like electricity and other utilities generally, such as water.”


proudloudandfnm 8 years, 8 months ago

Good!! Hope he flip flops VAT right out of this country when he gets in office....


TruthHurts 8 years, 8 months ago


Wishful thinking if he thinks he'll hold office in this country!


Cobalt 8 years, 8 months ago

Why not???? You ga bring Perry dem back???? You gatta be jokin!!! Da Bahamas have ta go wit either Hubert Minnis, or Branville!!! We can't take no more PLP!! We wouldn't have no Bahamas left!!


Islandgirl 8 years, 8 months ago

I really do not care what Roberts' opinion is. It is irrelevant.He is following American political rhetoric with this constant pushing of the "flip flopper" storyline. Be original please. Dr. Minnis is entitled to an opinion, and free to change his mind on issues when certain factors reveal themselves, but I am certain that when it comes down to the nitty gritty, he is more than capable of making an informed, firm decision. He could not have successfully practiced medicine all these years without that particular skill. This governing party, however, is pure smoke screens and mirrors. Roberts, use your loud voice on the issues of crime, making persons who owe long outstanding taxes pay them, ending the corruption that causes our country to stink at every level with nary a hope of moving forward, and stop wasting our time on useless crap like this.


Cobalt 8 years, 8 months ago

Bradley Roberts is talking utter nonsense, as most PLP's do!!! We all knew that the FNM had plans to initiate VAT had they won the 2012 general elections! But the reason that Dr Hubert Minnis opposed VAT in the budget debate was because the PLP offered no transperency, nor logical blueprint as to how the tax system would work!!! They offered no solution to the conflicts or redundant charges that would come about as a result of VAT!! Neither did they educate the people or address their immidiate concerns as it related to the matter. Furthermore.... the PLP had planned to initiate VAT at a bogus rate of 15% without telling the people of the Bahamas how they derived such a rediculous number. Even now as the PLP attempts to commence this new tax system, there exist conflicts and problems simply because VAT hasn't been planned nor implemented properly. How the hell can you introduce an unprecedented tax system without addressing all aspects of the system and conveying it clearly to the tax payers??? Many Bahamians still don't understand how VAT will work and where their tax dollars are going. Furthermore.... didn't the New Zealand committee inform Perry Christie that freedom of information laws had to be passed in order to be successful???

Bradley Roberts really believe erybody stupid an is believe propaganda!!!


proudloudandfnm 8 years, 8 months ago

Truth hurts, you don't really think the Bahamas is gonan put the tax everyone, incompetent, corrupt PLP back in office though?!?!?

BWAHHAAAA Ya'll PLPs are delusional....

Perry might have to move to Atlanta when he gets kicked out of office. He's without a doubt the most hated man in the country today....


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