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Editorial: It's Time For Web Shops To Pay Their Due

Next time you go shopping, or go to a restaurant, consider this: when they bring you the bill, why don’t you say oh no, I’m only going to pay five percent VAT on this one? Or maybe eight percent?

The answer is easy, of course – on a good day they’d laugh at you and say no seriously, you’ve got to pay the bill. And you’d dig into your wallet or purse and pay what you owe.

So what makes web shops so different?

For far too long now, the web shop industry has been in a seeming back and forth with the government over how much tax they should pay.

If you or I were to turn round to the government and say you’re not paying what you owe, you’d be whisked in front of the court as fast as you could blink, but oh no, not the web shop industry.

Even with an agreement on the table and due to be passed next month, there are still members of the industry talking about not paying taxes because they disagree with the proposal.

Well, tough luck.

The industry might count itself as lucky to exist legally at all – after all, when the public voted on the gambling referendum in 2013, Bahamians said no.

That the government turned round at all and regularised the industry after that was a boon for the businesses.

Does the industry then turn around and say thank you, we’re willing to play our part? No, members of the industry start filing lawsuits. Some even claim that no retroactive taxes should be owed for the entirety of the first half of the 2018-2019 fiscal year. And some went so far as to stop paying their taxes completely while the debate rumbled on.

And if the government doesn’t get in tax money it’s expecting, it has to either cut the services it’s expecting to provide to us all – or make us pay more money to make up for it. The web shops are dipping into our pockets when they say they’re not paying.

So we agree wholeheartedly with Carl Bethel when he says “pay your tax”. Pay what you owe. The businesses have been given a chance to operate legally in an open environment – well, it’s time to behave as a legitimate business should and pay what it owes.

And if it doesn’t? We suggest the government strips them of their licences.

Well done to Potter's Cay police

A spate of incidents earlier this year at Potter’s Cay prompted this column to call upon the police to step up patrols there to ensure people’s safety.

On Saturday night, we were pleased to note that was exactly the case – with officers prominently visible, checking with drivers as they arrived at the location and walking the area to ensure no trouble.

We applaud the force for responding to the threat, and for trying to bring peace back to an area that is popular with both locals and visitors.

We also called in a separate column for extra policing at Montagu Beach – and so we hope the success of the Potter’s Cay policing can spread to other areas in need.

Well done, officers, now let’s keep up the pressure to keep crime down.

Comments

Porcupine 2 weeks, 6 days ago

This is not an indictment of the web shops. This is an indictment of The Bahamas. This is a country where there is no fear, if you have money. You may buy the politicians, even buy individual votes, if you have the money. The supposition of fairness and justice is laughable at every turn. There should be a national lottery, not web shops. The people's voice makes no difference. We are ruled by a small unthinking elite. A sorely uneducated populace stands no chance against the well-spoken greed of the ruling class. The web shop owners are now the de facto rulers of this country. It's the basic golden rule. He who has the gold, rules. They buy the government. They buy whomever they want. Regularizing, a slimy word if there ever was one, the web shops was the death knell for The Bahamas.
Politicians are only there to serve as customer service agents. They can do nothing of substance. Their hands are tied. Politicians are there for show, nothing more. If politicians made a difference, wouldn't the Bahamian people have noticed that difference?

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