By Natario McKenzie
Tribune Business Reporter
BAHAMIANS must be educated on the fact they cannot demand modern infrastructure and services without paying taxes, according to a local businessman, stating: "We cannot have our cake and eat it too."
Dr Keenan Larry Carroll, owner of the Sandpiper Inn, suggested if Bahamians fail to pay existing taxes, government ultimately would find other means to tax its citizens in order to raise the necessary revenue.
Dr Carroll, who will be a presenter at the 16th annual Abaco Business Outlook next Thursday, suggested that had there been greater efficiency and accountability in the collection of taxes across the country, the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) may not have been necessary.
"Just imagine had we been more efficient and accountable, would we have needed the VAT? I don't know. I don't think so," said Dr Carroll.
"I'm not a political animal. Each government has done the same thing, it's just the individual sitting in the chair. We have to educate our people to the fact that your car cannot run without gas and we, the people, need to put gas in the tank of the government - meaning taxes. We cannot have our cake and eat it too. You cannot have the best free education, free hospitalisation if no one wants to contribute and pay for it."
Dr Carroll added: "People talk about countries like Denmark, Finland and Sweden. One of my colleagues said his income tax was 80 percent. Their buses run on time. He never has to worry about going to the hospital and not getting the most advanced medical care.
"Until and unless our people are educated to the fact that we have to pay taxes and if we do it we won't have it keep adding more taxes. People have to be made aware that this is a necessary evil to living."