VAT Now Passed – Without Notice Or Forewarning To The Bahamian People

WAKEUPBlindsiding the Bahamian people, robbing ordinary citizens of the opportunity to make their dissenting voices heard during what should have been a FULL Parliamentary debate, and robbing the nation of the ability to be fully educated on VAT BEFORE the nation’s MPs took a vote – the government quickly passed VAT in Parliament late last night (Wednesday). Not a single Member of Parliament on either side forewarned the Bahamian people that the government was going to rush VAT to passage in the House Wednesday night. The country, fully distracted by a myriad of government-initiated actions, had no idea debate on VAT would start Tuesday and that VAT would be rushed to passage the following day. ONE DAY OF DEBATE, THEN THE GOVERNMENT QUICKLY PASSED VAT.

VAT is not just any piece of legislation. This tax will completely and historically change the way The Bahamas functions and does business. This tax WILL plunge the poor further into poverty and the middle-class WILL carry the majority of the payment burden for this tax. This tax WILL spur the closure and/or downsizing of businesses. This tax WILL increase the costs of ALL UTILITIES (power, water, phone, cable, internet, gasoline, diesel, propane, etc). This tax WILL make bread-basket grocery items that many are now struggling to afford, even more expensive. This tax WILL make insurance and private healthcare more expensive. This tax WILL increase the cost of domestic transportation (airlines, mailboats, ferries, etc). This tax WILL make The Bahamas an even less attractive tourist destination due to even higher costs it will impose for tourists-related activities and hotel stays. This tax WILL make the high cost of living in our Family Islands even higher. This tax WILL increase the cost of doing business and receiving services from businesses. This tax WILL increase construction costs as well as the costs of patronizing local businesses like restaurants, department stores, lawyers offices, etc. This tax WILL will cause domestic spending (shopping at home) to continue its downward trend levels. This tax WILL NOT fix our debt problem, because wasteful government spending and systemic corruption has not changed, nor has the government’s record on tax collection. And this tax WILL NOT ensure that VAT rebates due to businesses by the government will be immediately paid back to those businesses. This tax has damaged every single Caribbean country with economies like ours that have introduced it. The government’s latest action has drawn a line in the sand that shall not be erased, regarding the utter contempt he and his administration have for the Bahamian people.

IT IS A BETRAYAL OF THE HIGHEST ORDER TO THE BAHAMAS AND ALL BAHAMIANS for the government to have pulled a stunt of this unprecedented magnitude, rushing VAT through debate without most of the country having a clue that VAT would be voted on this week.

HERE IS HOW EACH MP VOTED ON VAT

Hubert Chipman (FNM) St. Anne’s – NO

Perry Christie (PLP) Farm Road & Centreville – ABSENT

Renardo Curry (PLP) North Abaco – YES

Michael Darville (PLP) Pineridge – YES

Philip Brave Davis (PLP) Cat Island, Rum Cay & San Sal – YES

Kenred Dorsett (PLP) Southern Shores – YES

Jerome Fitzgerald (PLP) Marathon – YES

Picewell Forbes (PLP) Central & South Andros – YES

Arnold Forbes (PLP) Mt. Moriah – YES

Shane Gibson (PLP) Golden Gates – YES

Neko Grant (FNM) Central Grand Bahama – NO

V. Alfred Gray (PLP) Mical – ABSENT

Melanie Griffin (PLP) Yamacraw- ABSENT

Damien Gomez (PLP) Central & South Eleuthera – YES

Perry Gomez (PLP) North Andros – YES

Michael Halkitis (PLP) Golden Isles – YES

Cleola Hamilton (PLP) South Beach – YES

Daniel Johnson (PLP) Carmichael – YES

Edison Key (FNM) Central & South Abaco – ABSENT

Richard Lightbourn (FNM) Montagu – NO

Glenys Hanna-Martin (PLP) Englerston – YES

Leslie Miller (PLP) Tall Pines – ABSENT

Hubert Minnis (FNM) Killarney – NO

Fredrick Mitchell (PLP) Fox Hill – YES

Anthony Moss (PLP) Exuma & Ragged Island – YES

Gregory Moss (PLP) Marco City – NO

Theo Neilly (FNM) North Eleuthera – NO

Bernard Nottage (PLP) Bain & Grants Town – YES

Ryan Pinder (PLP) Elizabeth – YES

Khaalis Rolle (PLP) Pinewood – YES

Andre Rollins (PLP) Fort Charlotte – YES

Hope Strachan (PLP) Sea Breeze – YES

Loretta Butler-Turner (FNM) Long Island – NO

Peter Turnquest (FNM) East Grand Bahama – NO

Renward Wells (PLP) Bamboo Town – YES

Obediah Wilchcombe (PLP) West Grand Bahama – ABSENT

FINAL COUNT:
Yes = 22
No = 8
Abstain = 0
Absent = 6

House Speaker Kendal Major (PLP) Garden Hills – ABSENT
House Presiding Officer – Dion Smith (PLP) Nassau Village – (No Vote, Sitting as Speaker)