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Updated: Hundreds Protest Vat Rise

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PLP leader Philip Davis speaks during the protest

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Protesters in Rawson Square

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An aerial view of the protest

HUNDREDS of protesters marched to Rawson Square this morning to protest the impending valued added tax increase and a new sliding tax on web shops.

Shortly after 10.30am, the protestors stormed the barricades erected in Rawson Square and rushed into Parliament Square, before being stopped by police who held the crowd at bay.

After 1pm, Bay Street was again blocked off, with some protestors sitting and standing in the road as vehicles tried to drive past. Police later cleared the area and Bay Street was reopened.

And while protestors greeted and cheered for some politicians like Progressive Liberal Party Leader Philip Davis, Englerston MP Gleyns Hanna Martin and Free National Movement Centreville MP Reece Chipman, it was reported that one demonstrator threw water on Minister of Transport Frankie Campbell. The crowd also booed Minister of National Security Marvin Dames as left the House of Assembly.

The group included angry Bahamians, PLP supporters and members, as well as web shop employees who are afraid the new tax scale will lead to job losses in their sector.

The protest was labeled “Keep Ya Corned Beef, We Marching.”

Protesters chanted and shouted over music from a mini brass band, and waved signs, which read, “When was the last time your water bill was less than $50?” “We thought it was the people’s time,” and “Planes & Washers Duty Free Really?”

One protestor, B “Wheels” Evans, said he was participating in the march to advocate for “rights and justice.”

He stated he has no faith in the current administration nor the opposition party because they have both proven to be dishonest and “disgraceful.”

“Bahamian people need somebody to look out for them. I don’t think either of these parties are interested in the Bahamian people, they’re just using them for when they want to get in (government),” he said.

Another protester, Ernest McKenzie, expressed concern on how the tax increase could negatively impact the tourism industry.

“It’s going to cost them more to buy a plane ticket to come here to enjoy the goodness of us, and if they do that and impose that on us, what’s going to happen to your children and your grandchildren… to the young black entrepreneurs, to the small businessman?”

Protester Charles Higgs agreed that the proposed 12 percent VAT rate is “too much and too tough” for Bahamians, especially due to the large amount of single parent homes in the country.

“The government isn't even giving them quality food like fruits and stuff (that will be VAT exempt). They giving them this corned beef, and if you really did the history to know what corned beef is made up of, you wouldn't even want it exported in this country,” he said.

More on this story as it develops.

Photos: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 days, 16 hours ago

Repost: I agree that the current regressive taxation regime is unfair and therefore unsuitable for all, except of course the racketeering sinful empires run by the low-life thugs known as numbers bosses. But any effort at this point in time to replace it with a progressive income tax regime of the kind found in more developed countries would be like putting dynamite in the hands of young children. For decades now our successive spendthrift governments have demonstrated that they are simply not responsible enough to oversee the implementation and administration of a progressive income tax regime. This is mainly due to the failed two party political system we have been saddled with for the past 25 years or so whereby incompetent imbeciles are typically nominated to run for elected office, and competent, honest and hardworking Bahamians are for most part not inclined to get involved in active politics. Adopting a progressive tax regime without first fixing our failed two party political system would likely trigger 'a flight to safety' of almost all of our country's foreign-owned and domestic-owned financial capital, essentially resulting in the halting of all FDI, the depletion of our foreign currency reserves, and the destruction of the Bahamian dollar over night. Most Bahamians are too young to remember just how bad Jamaicans had it in their country for the longest time, when they could not even buy toilet paper or tooth paste. And now years later Jamaica still bears the terrible economic and social scarring from the hellish ordeal they went through for decades.

For the time being a 10% VAT with no exemptions could work, but only if accompanied by sustained belt tightening aimed at significantly (and painfully) reducing the size of our grossly over-bloated public services sector by as much as one-third or more over the next two to three years at most. Minnis and his cabinet should therefore be working overtime to create an environment conducive to significant private sector job growth. But the 2019/20 budget does very little if anything to encourage private sector job growth; iIn fact many would rightly argue it does the opposite.

And of course the scourge of the sinful money laundering empires run by the likes of His Majesty King Sebas Bastian and His Royal Highness Sir Craig Flowers would have to be dealt with, in large part through much higher taxation then even currently proposed and by the establishment of a completely tax-free national lottery initially operated by reputable and seasoned foreign lottery experts from Canada or the U.S.

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ohdrap4 3 days, 16 hours ago

works every time.

A shirt and a day off work will buy their vote.

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joeblow 3 days, 16 hours ago

Throw in a free Kalik and you gat them fer life!

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joeblow 3 days, 16 hours ago

Braves party (PLP) is responsible for implementing VAT to pay down the national debt. They not only did not pay down the debt, but borrowed recklessly to almost destroy this country. The PLP are directly responsible for this VAT increase and he has the nerve to protest the increase?

Brave and the PLP should sit small on this one!

This is a national issue not a political one.

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realfreethinker 3 days, 16 hours ago

I agree with you Brave should shut his pie hole. So if the government says they will have to borrow $600mil rather than raise vat these same people will be out marching. The chickens have come home to roost. The bills must be paid.

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proudloudandfnm 3 days, 15 hours ago

FREEPORT!! YOU SEEING THIS????

THIS IS WHAT FREEPORT NEEDS TO BE DOING EVERY DAY UNTIL WE GET ACTION!

GET OFF YA ASSES AND PROTEST!!!

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Aegeaon 3 days, 14 hours ago

This isn't just on Nassau's case, it's for the entire country.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 3 days, 15 hours ago

The championship title fight of the millennium:

The tag team of His Majesty King Sebas and His Royal Highness Sir Craig versus the dim witted Doc (Minnis) and his darling yapping white haired lap poodle, recently turned ferocious pit bull (D'Aguilar).

Bahamians, place your bets!

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BahamaPundit 3 days, 15 hours ago

Well said. How did Doc become so dim though? He's a doctor and rich, yet dim as a cloudy day in October. His brain seems capable of only one thought: stewed fish. SMH

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 12 hours ago

you should know by now that success and smarts have nothing to do with each other in the Bahamas. And I'm not talking about book smarts alone. Look at Sebas. I don't care how much suit they throw him n or how big the stage is they put him on or who he sitting beside, I know without a doubt he's only the front man. In the Bahamas you can get rich through connections, fronting and being crooked

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PastorTroy 3 days, 14 hours ago

  • The borrower is a slave to the lender... Stop borrowing Master's money. He doesn't like you!
  • To whom you give your money, is to whom you give your power... IMF, IDB etc.
  • So, next election are we still going to fighting each other over PLP and FNM or are we Bahamians first?
  • To divide and rule. Politricks, religion, racism, classism, colorism, genderism etc. It's time to 'flip the script' on our slave masters and legalize cannabis before Florida legalizes for recreational purposes, but we can't can we? Globalism is here ladies and gentlemen, keep thinking small and conservative and die, or think progressive, adapt to globalism and live...
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Aegeaon 3 days, 13 hours ago

Except the Slave Masters are just on their last legs in life. It won't matter if they get the wealth or not. Their offspring will escape the trap of racism and their false legacy will die off. The white man has simply allowed the majority to rule and what did we do for value?

Made a deal with one of Latin America's legendary drug cartels, the Medellin Cartel, to sell drugs and start a Drug War. Then we refused to investigate the number boys' bank accounts and finances to fund the webshops or casinos. Our old slave masters have died off or left the country to us. Now our new slave masters are everyone in the drug trade. All the drug cartels, narco-terrorists, street gangs, big-time money launderers and drug lords.

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BahamaPundit 3 days, 14 hours ago

Well said paster. Unfortunately, no we won't legalize pot. I had a long chat with an owner of a chain of Bahamian liquor shops, and he told me they won't legalise pot because it decreases alcohol sales. Guess who are shareholders in Commonwealth Brewery? Doc and many of his crew. So, pot ain't ga happen for that reason alone.

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TheMadHatter 3 days, 14 hours ago

"Hundreds" !!!!!! LOL.

Why don't we have thousands. There should be 50,000 people there, if people gave a damn.

The government can sit back and relax. "Errryting cool". "Thank God for Life."

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Aegeaon 3 days, 14 hours ago

I can reason them on the 12% increase, but NOT the webshops. Tax the casinos if you will, but at least they made reservations to operate legally. But we need a intelligence agency like the CIA or MI-6 to investigate and determine when any new gambling venture should be allowed or not.

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joeblow 2 days, 19 hours ago

Casinos are central to most hotel operations with responsibility for ensuring the employment of far more people than web shops do and by the way, casinos don't pay their croupiers minimum wage!

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licks2 3 days, 13 hours ago

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. . . .doc ya doing good there fella. . .Adrian Francis. . .Mr. PLP could only get that "lil bit" of peoples them. . .them look like rent-a-crowd and hard-core PLP them there!! This shows that the big part of the people are not mad as some say. . .we pay the 4.5 cents more and move on!!

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 12 hours ago

You and doc fail to see the spark

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licks2 2 days, 15 hours ago

What spark.? When you see "THE PEOPLE DEM" rise up. . .then there is a spark!!! This is vested interested. . .making billions from the poor and paying little taxes. . .the PLP who want to get back in power. . .and paid crowds. . ."THAT'S NOT THE PEOPLE". . . no spark there fella. . .

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bogart 3 days, 13 hours ago

Actually..... Bahamaspundit....the NIB the nations Health insurance and educators and promoters of health is a major shareholder....the pore...the indigent...drowning their problems..in alcohol....and the NIB gets good dividends...

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BahamaPundit 3 days, 12 hours ago

Re Bogart. Thanks for the info. So disgusting that they invest in killing us.

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BahamaPundit 3 days, 12 hours ago

Re This Is Ours. So, if he is the front man, who is the real owner. Spill the beans.

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ThisIsOurs 3 days, 10 hours ago

Lol isn't he like 20%, I read that somewhere and in the same article Flowers was listed as having some East block partner "if" my memory serves me correctly.

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TheMadHatter 3 days, 11 hours ago

"Protester Charles Higgs agreed that the proposed 12 percent VAT rate is “too much and too tough” for Bahamians, especially due to the large amount of single parent homes in the country."

Aaaaawww - so now suddenly we realize we have single parent homes? When it affects yah wallet?

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realfreethinker 3 days, 10 hours ago

Ya either pay that vat or pay for more borrowing. Pick ya poison

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sheeprunner12 3 days, 10 hours ago

Soooooooooo, how much were these protesters paid today by the Numbers Mafia???

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licks2 2 days, 15 hours ago

They were forced to go on Bay Street or lose their pay or job for that matter!! Adrian Francis was giving out his shirts out of PLP HQs. . .

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truetruebahamian 3 days, 10 hours ago

Web and numbers shops MUST be dismantled and if operating after that their principals imprisoned and their fortunes removed from their grasp. A National Lottery with an accountable publicly available view of each and every weekly take in and draw MUST be available. No slush fund, no centralised place from which governments can store and hide or slip away smaller 'un noticeeable ' amounts as the last 'Progressive Liberal Party' thieves did with National Insurance.

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Truism 3 days, 8 hours ago

You mean my government established on Christian principles should get in the sin business??? 10 x 10. The devil is a liar. LMAO

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bogart 3 days, 8 hours ago

Number of ways to ger funds....sell som of these entities the gpvt have continuously taking money out of the cookies jar to prop up dere friends, families and who ever and sitting on Boards of Directors overseeong these entitoes losing money ..... Papa was smart to do Batelco...to a company...for 51% knowing what they would invest and upgrade would also increase value for all... Regretably, to sell and strategise this way to cut losses, revitalize move fro greater synergies does not seem to exist. For starters should not have 3 entotoes doing the same basic ting....Bank of the Bahamas, Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, Bahamas Deveelopment Bank....each are engaged in lending, each have offocers wid da same roles, each pays light bills, water ets.. All of these entities have been propped up. Other avenues exist to offer leases to companies to develop certain resources...create jobs....

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rawbahamian 3 days, 8 hours ago

Let's elect Sebas for P.M. and Craig for D.P.M. and we sit back and see what they do !!!

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Honestman 2 days, 11 hours ago

Let's not 'cause I think we all know what they would do!

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akbar 3 days, 8 hours ago

The crowd was made of Bahamians whether its number men, plp ,fnm, dna, rich, poor etc. Bahamians period. I am glad to see that we can come into the Age of Agitation.Instead of criticizing at least be somewhat supportive.

This will not stop. No Fiscal Responsibility Act, no Freedom of Information Act all hot button topics the FNM propagated on their election platform to sway the minds of the electorate. 12.5% then next year 15% then next 6 months 20% . Who or what will stop the madness?

Let's be reminded this form of taxation is all new.Let's demand the government put mechanisms in place to regulate the entire process and don't give them carte blanche to increase taxation. The PLP did not put regulatory measures in place so does that means they shouldn't either? C,mon people. That should be a real and relevant fear not all these rhetoric the political mouthpieces keep uttering. History have shown these kind of action have sparked civil disobedience and even bloody revolts ( American Revolution).So before you sit on yall high horses, THINK not out of fear but out of reason.

At least they taking a stand for an issue they believe in whether you think it is right or wrong not hiding behind a keyboard, and computer screen criticizing instead of analyzing.

Peace and God is Great!

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akbar 3 days, 8 hours ago

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

― Benjamin Franklin

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akbar 3 days, 8 hours ago

Maybe our so called first Revolution, the Quiet One should have required silence and some blood then maybe just maybe Bahamians would appreciate what it really means to live free.

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licks2 2 days, 14 hours ago

You have less than 1000 out of nearly 1/2 million people. . .heck you don't even have all PLPs there fella!! Revolutions start with a real "peoples need". . .not the vested interests of the robber class. . .everybody saw the jist of that march. . .the number boys want to keep their billions with paying back little in the interests of those poor!

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Gotoutintime 3 days, 7 hours ago

"Some Blood"--- That will be the end of the tourists and then we will see some fun!!

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BahamaPundit 3 days, 6 hours ago

Re Akbar: You are likely mistaken. It is clear that had there been violence, it is much more likely that the Bahamas would now be another Haiti. Even more likely Akbar, had there been violence, England or the US would have brought their troops in, and you can kiss Bahamian independence goodbye. Black Bahamians didn't discover the Bahamas, nor did they invent the fundamentals of the Bahamian economy. They don't have the right to confiscate white property, just because they reproduced in greater numbers? This isn't Africa, where black people are the indigenous population.

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John 3 days, 4 hours ago

even Donald Trump has more compassion than this Red Neck,,err I mean Shirt government, Donald Trump is building housing to keep families together while illegal immigrants are processed to either be accepted into the US or returned home whilst our own heartless government is buldozing housing where the poorest of the poor reside

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Socrates 2 days, 16 hours ago

nothing wrong with demonstrating in a democracy, but don't block the road, life still has to go on for the rest. Riot squad should be present for all demonstrations in the heart of the city, since if these things get out of control, extensive damage in that area would have a very detrimental impact on the tourism product. Dames slack in this regard as Minister responsible. Nobody likes taxes, but as written in the bible centuries ago, render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's. Aren't we supposedly a christian country? I guess we'll all sleep better if IMF dictate the austerity measures rather than us taking respobsibility for our own irresponsible spending over prior decades?

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jamani2 2 days, 14 hours ago

All I say to the Bahamian people is that we must never be duped again. One more five year term by that PLP crowd and you can kiss our country good bye.

Trust me, they have not gone away. They are still lurking in the shadows waiting to suck more blood from the Bahamian people. They don't care about the country; all they care about is enriching themselves, their families and friends, and their cronies.

Bahamians, wake up! Look at who all came crawling out of their political graves to show up at that event.

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BahamaPundit 2 days, 13 hours ago

I've said this before. The PLP should be disbanded and never allowed to run for office again. There must be a way to ensure that the Bahamian people cannot ellect crooks. There must be, or I have no faith in our democracy. In other countries, they lock the politician crooks up, so they cannot run again. Here, they let them roam free, so there must be a safety measure put in place. Please Minnis. Enact a law that disbands the PLP from ever running again. Petition the Queen or whomever to disband this party, if it's the last thing you do. That's the way to save this nation, not VAT but PLP!!!!

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BahamaPundit 2 days, 13 hours ago

The PLP is a street gang in suits. Nothing more, nothing less.

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akbar 18 hours, 18 minutes ago

We come in this world violently ,ripped from our mother's womb. Violence is as natural as breathing. The Savior and the Cross was an act of violence that proclaimed to save us all. As long as oppression reigns violence will always surface. In this day and age of the subservient , subjugated Bahamian masses ( especially all y'all castrated educated eunuchs) maybe we need to be lead by a "street gang in suits" as BahamaPundit puts it,but it is sooo much better,in my view, than "eunuchs in red ties and frilly panties"who presently sit in the House. BahamaPundit we may not be the indigenous but we are the majority and now your true color is revealed. I hope you "Uncles" and "Aunties" in here view his comments toward AKBAR ( yeah I see you) and Africa. BahamaPundit neither is the white man indigenous to the Bahamaland ( you forget the slaughtered Tainos). Like the old saying goes "tief from tief God smiles". You worrying about your land being taken well as another old european saying goes "To the Victor goes the spoils". You always had a racist tone about you. To each his own. And let's not get get sidetrack. FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT AND FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY ACT. Would some of you agitate, even in silence, for those things to come about?

Peace and God is Great.

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akbar 18 hours, 5 minutes ago

"Gotoutintime" your concern about "blood and tourists" a legitimate concern indeed. But let me tell you a true story. I was a part of the last major union march on Bay St. Right in front of Scotiabank during the demonstration a tourist,white I might add, and his son were standing on the sidewalk taking pictures. So his son asked him, "Daddy what is going on?" obviously a little frightened. His father answered him," Son this what happens when people feel their rights are trampled on and they stand up for them!" His exact words I will never forget them. The same" tourist" you cowering behind know what it takes for the masses to be heard. I ger rest that there. Let it simmer a bit.

Peace and God is Great!

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