Statement by The Prime Minister On Mona Vie

6
989

060501400.jpg

Statement by Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham

On Action Taken by Minister of State Zhivargo Laing in connection with a change in the rate of customs duties on the product Mona Vie

THE PRIME MINISTER: I have reviewed all the facts and circumstances surrounding the allegations made against Minister of State Zhivargo Laing by the Opposition and its various spokespersons.

I have concluded that Minister Laing acted within the scope and ambit of the authority delegated and entrusted to him by myself as Minister of Finance.

The facts are as follows:

A Bahamian citizen, who happens to be the sister-in-law of the Minister, made a formal complaint to the Comptroller of Customs by letter, on 14 September 2007 concerning a decision by Customs to change the customs duty rate on a product (Mona Vie) previously imported by her and other persons at a rate of 10% to 45%. The Comptroller of Customs responded in a letter dated the 4 October 2007, as follows:

“Dear Madam,

“This is to acknowledge receipt of your letter dated 14th September, 2007 relative to the subject.

“In response thereto please be advised that this Department is presently conducting a review of the product Mona Vie to determine its classification and rate of duty.

“In the meantime you should continue to apply the 2009.90 Tariff Heading which will attract 10% rate of duty.

“Any further classification decision and rate of duty will be communicated to you in writing.

Yours truly,

Comptroller of Customs”

When, on 20 November 2007, the Comptroller of Customs determined that the product should be placed in a classification of items attracting a higher rate of customs duty, the Minister of State, acting upon advice and within the scope and ambit of his authority, determined that the rate confirmed by the Comptroller of Customs on 4 October 2007 should continue to be levied until the matter might be considered in the next Annual Budget.

The Minister at no time changed a customs duty rate. Neither the Minister nor the Comptroller of Customs is empowered to change customs duty rates.

Such a power is vested in the Governor General acting upon the advice of the Minister of Finance. And neither did so.

Simply stated, the product Mona Vie was determined to have been wrongly classified.

The Minister determined that the classification and hence the duty previously levied on the product by Customs, and confirmed by the Comptroller of Customs on 4 October 2007, would continue for the remainder of the fiscal year.

It is to be noted that Mona Vie is imported into The Bahamas by a number of persons and not exclusively by Mrs. Laing. And all of these individuals, importers of Mona Vie, were affected by the decision of the Comptroller of Customs.

A number of them had also protested the change in the classification, and hence customs duty rate, without notice just three months into the new fiscal year.

I am satisfied that Minister Laing acted properly and in the interest of fair play towards a number of Bahamian business persons.

It is only because his sister-in-law happened to be one of those persons affected that the Opposition seeks to mislead the Bahamian public in this matter.

All Bahamians are entitled to a fair hearing and fair judgment when their interests are at stake, and it is ludicrous to suggest that a group of Bahamians should suffer unfairly because one of them happens to be related to someone in Government.

6 COMMENTS

  1. Money comes and go, but land remains with us for generations. We need to challenge not just or Government but indeed ourselves to help find ways to diversify our one crop economy, eventhough we boast a highly competetive financial industry, we must do far more to sustain ourselves. Mr. Finley.. are you still asking what, when, how, and how much? If so I’m truly wasting my time..

  2. The Bahamas needs US dollars to survive. We can only generate US dollars through tourism and other foreign direct investments. We have no choice but to continue to do what we are doing, or our economy will collapse. That is the reality that Bahamians must understand.We import everything from toothpaste to cement blocks. These things can only be paid for with US dollars. If Omar Archer has a better idea he needs to speak up. Do not leave out what, when, how, and how much.

  3. They are selling entire Islands like hot cake. If we lose our land we will fail to secure our identity and ultimately our culture.

    “PRIME MINISTER HUBERT INGRAHAM IS THE ULTIMATE SELL OUT” Today’s oppressor is a black
    man seeking acceptance among the privileged few. Natural idiot.

  4. They are selling entire Islands like hot cake. If we lose our land we will fail to secure our identity and ultimately our culture.

    “PRIME MINISTER HUBERT INGRAHAM IS THE ULTIMATE SELL OUT” Today’s oppressor is a black
    man seeking acceptance among the privileged few. Natral idiot.

  5. PM Ingraham said “I have concluded that Minister Laing acted within the scope and ambit of the authority delegated and entrusted to him by myself as Minister of Finance”.

    In case it’s just me, can someone please tell me what will this nonsense do to help bring about solutions to wide spread child abuse in this country, the serious problems of broken homes, unemployment, poverty, immigration, crime and education reform.

    I say No..to politicians! and yes..to legislators. This simple minded man some of you call PM has become a slave to the very perception of his own image. What Prime Minister Ingraham really needs to do is repeal the International Persons Landholding Agreement and stop selling prime undeveloped Bahamian land.

    STOP SELLING THE LAND!!

Comments are closed.