Nassau, Bahamas – During the parliamentary debate on Wednesday August 20th, Leader of the Opposition, Hon. Dr. Hubert A. Minnis expressed the following:
“VAT is a tax which would cause great pain and suffering on the middle class, the sick, the poor and the young. It would cause an increase in gas and electricity, and the cost of living in general and a decrease in disposable income for many. How could jewellery be exempt but bread basket items and medication are not?
Young people make up the majority of the labor force and are the biggest consumers. VAT would make it difficult for them to buy homes, pay mortgage and feed their young.
The government has already admitted that they are fully mindful of the potential effect that VAT would have on lower income Bahamians, in a statement by the Minister of State in The Ministry of Finance, who essentially explained that the government is prepared to increase social service funding to counteract this effect. Is the government trying to create a welfare society? Without proper immigration policies, the illegal immigrants would continue to place an even greater strain on the social systems of this country.
Without the proper laws to ensure that the monies are used for debt repayment, without a proper expenditure reduction plan, without proper anti-corruption laws, without a freedom of information act, and with wasteful spending as seen today, VAT could easily be used as a government slush fund, to continue spending to continue hiring friends, family and lovers and to continue giving contracts to friends and can even be used for election funds with mass hiring pre-election.
The Free National Movement simply cannot support a tax that would cause greater pain and suffering on the poor, the middle class, the sick and the young.”