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Fnm And Dna United In Opposition To New Tax

Dr Hubert Minnis

Dr Hubert Minnis

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

OPPOSITION Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said the Free National Movement is opposed to any possible attempt by the Christie administration to implement a new tax to cover the cost of damage from Hurricane Matthew.

Prime Minister Perry Christie told the media Monday that the government may have to consider introducing such a tax, noting that the country’s finances are strained and the Bahamas faces credit downgrade threats.

The Tribune understands a tax introduction was discussed in Cabinet yesterday, though no final decision was made. Government insiders also said a “sin tax” on items like alcohol and tobacco has been considered.

Bahamians, nonetheless, reacted with anger across social media yesterday at the idea that a tax would even be contemplated.

And for his part, Dr Minnis said: “People are suffering enough. They have VAT and we can’t account for how it is being spent. The Bahamian people cannot trust this government. We will not be inflicting more pain and suffering on the Bahamian populace. You cannot tax your way out of suffering.

“People can’t buy water, food, clothing and you want to increase (poverty) further?”

Dr Minnis said the government should decrease public waste and control spending rather than consider a new tax.

Mr Christie has estimated that the damage from Hurricane Matthew will cost the country three to four times more than the devastation left by Hurricane Joaquin last year, which was pegged at around $100m.

Meanwhile, FNM Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest warned that even a sin tax could adversely affect the country.

“While I don’t have a huge difficulty with a sin tax,” he said yesterday, “I also recognise people are employed in those industries. The extent to which we make products unaffordable, that will affect businesses involved and unemployment could go up. While we can extract as much as we can from those, say, luxury items, we have to ensure we don’t put more on people than they can bear.”

In a lengthy statement yesterday, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) also rejected the idea of a new tax, saying the party isn’t comforted by Mr Christie’s pledge to ensure such a tax, if implemented, has a “minimal impact” on people.

“Over the past four years in office, we the people of this country have watched as the Christie administration has overseen millions in government wastage, mismanagement and reckless spending,” DNA Leader Branville McCartney said.

“Newspaper headlines have been littered with stories about theft and financial misappropriation of tax payer funds and resources––all of which have gone unpunished––while millions of dollars in cost overruns for Bahamas Junkanoo Carnival have been dismissed as par for the course by organisers of the event. In the face of such financial ineptitude, how and why should Bahamians be required to pay an additional tax because of the government’s failure to properly plan for such natural disasters?”

Comments

TalRussell 4 years ago

Comrades! Happy see Minnis and Bran are working together.......Still they have to do away with their criticism of the PLP government......Yet both party leaders remain vague as to what their policies would be if come the 2017 General the Electorate were to favour their two parties to form a coalition government of sorts?
The people are demanding sensible governing alternatives.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years ago

If the FNM or DNA would be so lucky to be in a position to form the next government, you can be rest assured the first order of business would be to increase taxes. Neither the FNM nor DNA have ever outlined a comprehensive detailed plan for how they would go about reducing the waste, fraud, corruption and outright theft that now permeates all government departments, agencies and corporations. Neither of these two parties made any serious effort to dissect Crooked Christie's last annual budget in any meaningful way in order to show the Bahamian people the extent (in dollars) to which that budget was heavily padded with lard for the benefit of Crooked Christie's elitist political friends and their cronies, including their families, mistresses, same-sex companions, and so on.

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TalRussell 4 years ago

Comrade, there will be little chance of unseating the PLP government if all they're counting on is voter luck favoring them. The PM has other viable alternatives open his government other than imposing additional taxes on the ordinary mans and womans......Like reducing all government ministries spending by 15 to 20%.......no exceptions......collecting millions in unpaid taxes long owing to the public treasury......Did I mention the One Hundred Millions Dollars in unpaid loans owed by the Special Politically Connected borrowers at Bank Bahamaland? Did i mention the many millions owing to BEC alone, by the same Politically Connected Privileged?
Pretty damn strange when the party of Pindling and Milo decide to reach even further into the pockets of the already hurtin poor people.

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sheeprunner12 4 years ago

This country does not need a "new tax" ............ it needs politicians with clean hands and a revamped, leaner civil service that will put country over self ........... is that possible????

This country collects enough taxes (on paper) to sustain itself ............ but there is too much accumulated corruption over the past 50 years ........ hence $7 Billion debt and counting

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Socrates 4 years ago

It's time like this when you wish you had some of that $600m wasted on Bahamasair or the $400m + in BEC from all the political rate adjustments or God knows how much at ZNS, etc. all services that could have been efficiently provided by private businesses these last 40+ years. The chickens have come home to roost and now we all have to pay the price. FNM and DNA say no new taxes but how the hell else you will get the money? Any talk about reducing wastage and public spending is just wishful thinking. That's why we have to get out of this big government mentality.

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Reality_Check 4 years ago

Re-post: Christie no doubt has told the local clearing banks that the $150 million loan facility will be repaid using the proceeds of a "special tax" that will be introduced by the next government after the up coming general election no matter whether the next administration is led by Christie, Minnis or McCartney. Both Minnis and McCartney had to agree that this would indeed be the case no matter which party or coalition of parties wins the next general election and forms the next government. The cartel of clearing banks insisted on this requirement being met as a pre-condition to providing the $150 million credit facility that is.....you guessed it....guaranteed by none other than the honest hardworking already financially crippled taxpayers of the Bahamas. As Christie put it to the cartel of the local clearing banks, and to Minnis and McCartney, the proposed "special tax" balloon that he floated shows that it would be political suicide for the current PLP led administration to significantly increase taxes in the run up to the next general election. Therefore, doing so would have to be the responsibility of the next government early on in its first term.

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