211 total votes.
By MORGAN ADDERLEY
Tribune Staff Reporter
ALTHOUGH the increase of value added tax from 7.5 percent to 12 percent took effect on Sunday, an advocacy group is calling for the government to abolish this form of taxation and instead explore alternative avenues to collect revenue.
Yesterday, a small delegation of Citizens Against Bank Exploitation (CABE) demonstrated in Rawson Square. CABE lead organiser Dr Denotrah Archer-Cartwright said the group is calling for the government to reverse the tax increase.
She added that if it is planned "strategically over time" and the government diversifies its tax system, VAT in its entirety can be eliminated from the country.
"We think that they should reverse it. And if they don't know how, then they sit with groups like us, they sit with the community and they figure out other alternatives," Dr Archer-Cartwright said.
"We cannot just go and take the lazy way out. Our prime minister said it himself: taxing the people is the lazy way out."
Dr Archer-Cartwright suggested alternatives included the government "(leading) by example" and decreasing its own budget allowances for gas and travel expenses.
"We don't see the austerity measures from the government. And we don't mean…just cutting government workers."
She said the budget can be decreased by another $30m or $40m if unnecessary consultants and projects are eliminated.
She also called for salt exports to be taxed and the revenue earned used to provide aid for Ragged Island.
"We also have to have the guts to tax the foreigners in this country," Dr Archer-Cartwright said.
"We have a lot of foreign direct investment, but that money isn't trickling down to Bahamians.
"It's very disproportionate and we can see that the Bahamian people are carrying the burden of this country without the benefits. And we want to see something different from our government."
Dr Archer-Cartwright also emphasised the organisation is not against the government, but simply calling for it to create avenues for Bahamians to thrive.