Are VIPs Exempt From Paying VAT?

Submitted by HAMILTON HILL

Acting Director of the VAT Division, Anthony Gittens

As a young man fresh out of school and a recent member of the work force in what was at that time a very placid public sector in beautiful Barbados, I evoked the ire of my boss who had consented to a day off, presumably through an acute case of diarrhea only to find me seated in the law courts, a favourite pastime I had developed back then. On the spot I was fired.

Years later in a different country and working in a much less tolerant society, I almost suffered the same fate as I pulled my truck to a halt on a Connecticut highway at the sound of the voice of one Clyde Mascoll on Brass Tacks this past week. For fear that the signal that feeds the Smart Phone might be lost, the dumb ass that owns the same made the decision that this load would have to wait. Even though I know full well that global satellite provides the type of scrutiny of which local politicians know nothing, I took the chance. I listened, I took notes and I concocted a reason why dispatch was not notified of what turned into a twenty five minute break.

That evening while I sipped a cocktail of vodka and tonic I started to tell the BU family how they too should be as insulted as I was, that this man Clyde Mascoll had not gotten it. I started to remind all that this was the same person who made the claim that there was no integrity in the Barbados Nation, then months later became a columnist at that same institution. How this same person who now repudiated the Old Testament spent his whole life preaching from the same. I asked the question, how could any right thinking person put stock in anything that came from this man’s mouth? Then my wife directed me to a post written by Caswell Franklyn dated Nov.14 at 1:00 am.

Usually I am able to relieve the stress of any work day with the consumption of a cocktail or two, but given the fact that I had just dodged the bullet of dismissal all because of poor judgement on the part of none other than myself, its now a hard day’s night and this vodka aint saying nothing. That post by Caswell Franklyn did however.

With the desktop substituted for my wife’s iPad, the vodka and tonic replaced by a mixture of Andrews and Pepto Bismal, the sickening feeling that came from within seemed intensive. Who knew that DENIAL could have such effects? That after those who could least afford to pay were forced to, and then that remittance  never found its rightful home made me sick to the stomach. Many a small business person would have had to find by any means necessary a way to pay VAT.

In denial I never wanted to accept the fact that like so many other things in our Barbados perhaps VAT does not apply to VIP or those with that special connection. That this information came from Caswell Franklyn and not from the big wigs that form the BAJ, that seek to shape public opinion brought the puke from the pit of my bowels, and now brings this confession from my lips. Clyde as much as I despise anything you may claim to stand for, I will never again be critical of you, for all that you have done is what we as Bajans have come to accept.

Why should you be any different?

0 responses to “Are VIPs Exempt From Paying VAT?

  1. No. Bigwigs are not exempted from the VAT.

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  2. @Simple Simon

    Why was Courts excused based on Caswell’s report?

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  3. They also changed the definition of “time share” to exempt the Crane from paying VAT. Ask Sinckler if you doubt me: he did it.

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  4. We can assume the MoF has the weight of the law to issue VAT waivers?

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  5. “exempt from paying VAT”

    Its called “facilitating” Investment and business improvement.

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  6. David

    This was not a waiver. Timeshare property is defined in the Tourism Development Act as:
    “a complex of at least 10 rooms that offers advanced purchase of vacation time for a particular period or interval, thereby affording the purchaser the right to enjoy a variety of services and facilities, subject only to a further payment of an annual contribution towards the maintenance of the property, where the property is registered with the Barbados Tourism Authority.”

    That meant the timeshare purchaser should pay VAT just like anybody who booked a vacation and they did until Sinckler change timeshare to mean that you were purchasing real property. That is dishonest, a timeshare owner does not get a conveyance that can be registered at the Land Registry: he owns nothing.

    I smell something fishy here.

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  7. This piece was written to stimulate further ventilation of Caswell’s original point.It just boggles the mind that this has gone on,and seemingly will continue without a single journalist having the balls to ask just one question.

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  8. @Hamilton

    You say journalists but what about the Opposition? It seems this is a legitimate issue which speaks to governance. The silence from the Opposition signals more of the same?

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  9. @David..more of the same,since they seem to be one and the same.This story needs to be highlighted so that the average person understands how they are being cheated.

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  10. @Miller

    Do you think the BLP has the appetite for this issue?

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  11. I think that I shall tell you that Wade Gibbons, Nation Reporter at the time, wrote a story on the Courts’ issue but it was never published.

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  12. @Caswell

    Can BU see the story?

    Isn’t Wade Gibbons working at Barbados Today?

    Can’t Roy Morris publish it? It is still relevant.

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  13. millertheanunnaki

    @ David | November 19, 2012 at 7:07 AM |
    “@Miller: Do you think the BLP has the appetite for this issue?”

    No! Because it’s a non-issue and Caswell is being ridiculously pedantic.
    The selling of time shares is a form of Foreign Investment albeit indirect with reduced amounts circulating in the local economy. The imposition of VAT on such a transaction could be a disincentive to the selling of timeshares. We should be encouraging not
    ‘dis-incentivizing’ sources of forex and visitor arrivals. As Hants pointed out- but in his tongue-in-cheek way:- “Its called “facilitating” Investment and business improvement”.
    The Treasury will pick up its share of the ‘spend’ when timeshare visitors purchase local goods and services e.g patronizing restaurants.
    We must sometimes look beyond the superficial and take a helicopter view of such matters. However the Courts issue appears, on the face of it, as a case bordering on corruption and kickbacks unless evidence to the contrary is provided.

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  14. @Miller

    And the answer is yes, the Opposition has the appetite to pursue this matter. Let us see how Caswell response to you labelling the Crane matter as pedantic.

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  15. Always the taxpayer and majority who do not benefit in the millions from tourism funding these scams, the burden is always placed on the taxpayer to make up for the shortfalls benefitting hoteliers. What is the role of these unions again, do they even remember anymore????

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  16. Miller

    I like reading your contribution even when you are wrong as in this case. Your argument would be equally true for every property that offers vacations in advance, timeshare or not. Now ask yourself what happened to the VAT that was collected before the exemption was made for timeshare. I don’t think that you would find those funds in the Government’s coffers.

    By the way, I find that we in this country are not pedantic enough. When Government goes to parliament and pass a validation bill to legitimise the collection of taxes that were collected illegally, no one speaks out. When Government passed and brought the Employment Rights Act into force and somehow then changed their minds without parliamentary approval, again only me spoke out. You might need more people who are concerned with the rules. I haven’t started to be pedantic yet.

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  17. The failure of The Nation to publish the story on Courts and the non-payment of $25 million in VAT was another of its examples of advertising being worth more than the truth and Barbados’ coffers. The non-payment of the VAT was red-flagged in their annual report and when contacted manager at the time, Nick Misson, confirmed that Courts owed the VAT (which has never been paid) to Government. But he was quick to point out that the accumulation of that shameful debt did not happen under his watch. I got a comment from him wrote the story for publication but it never came. A call came from the hierarchy at Courts and between Roxanne Gibbs and Ezra Alleyne, the plug was pulled on the story in the cause of continued and eventually increased advertsing from Courts. The story subsequently disappeared from the system. So much for journalism in Barbados. It’s a bloody joke at times.

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  18. When government departments collect VAT from the paying public and does not pay it over to the Treasury,can any one tell if this isa crime. Wondering if the latest Auditor GEneral Report cite any of such occurrences. Is it true that one dept use up in excess of 30m dollars. Wade Gibbons this is your assignment.

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  19. Adrian Loveridge

    well, well,

    PLEASE do NOT paint all hoteliers with the same brush.
    As a small hotel with NO outstanding debt to any Goverbment department we have been OWED over $25,000 in claimed VAT refunds for over TWO years.

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  20. millertheanunnaki

    @ Caswell Franklyn | November 19, 2012 at 9:52 AM |
    “Now ask yourself what happened to the VAT that was collected before the exemption was made for timeshare. I don’t think that you would find those funds in the Government’s coffers.”

    If the above statement is valid- and I have no reason to contradict you since most of the time you write from an evidential position based on inside knowledge- then one can only conclude that this is a blatant case of fraud. Under no circumstance must any business in any sector collect VAT from consumers or clients and not pay it over to the VAT Division of Customs & Excise with the necessary offsets of the appropriate input VAT.

    My objection to your accusation was based on a point of principle that the transaction should not attract VAT in the first instance since it is an obvious disincentive to foreign investment in the tourism industry.
    I may side this time with Chris Sinckler for amending the legislation but vehemently oppose any acquiescence to deprive the Treasury of any VAT already collected on the timesharing transactions unless the tax was returned to the timeshare buyers. If this VAT money was collected then both Chris and the management of the Crane can only be deemed as corrupt fraudsters that must be brought before the law courts of Barbados.

    Now can you want a more pedantic stickler for the enforcement of the laws of the land?

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  21. I have been saying all along that there was no need to raise VAT by 2.5%: all that was needed would have been for Government to collect the money that was outstanding. Too many business collect VAT and keep it for themselves, without any adverse consequences. Not paying in the VAT that was collected is a criminal offence, but no one is taken before the court. Instead, an incompetent bordering on corrupt Government decided to penalise the consumers for the crimes of their corporate friends who steal the VAT.

    Many of these people who steal the VAT make sizeable campaign contributions to both parties so the stolen VAT is laundered to fund campaigns. You can’t take their money and then lock them up. This place is too corrupt. Unfortunately, the people who make the laws are the chief beneficiaries of law breaking activities.

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  22. David

    I have noticed that after Wade Gibbons confirmed my comments about the $25 million stolen from the VAT Division, your commenters on this matter have dried up. It seems that is to much information for them. I am expecting some more details as soon as the open-backed truck passes. If that was too much: you ain’t see nothing yet.

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  23. @Caswell

    Indeed…BU Dashboard shows it was the most read blog on BU today.

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  24. ALL the ass wunna going to do is talk talk talk
    Wunna should be out there taking action protesting, occupying Bridgetown, marching to Government House, CONTACTING INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ETC.

    Wunna aint doing one fart
    Just a bunch of frightened people hiding behind a Blog an talking shite. I do not mean Caswell who eveybody knows and who does not hide behind a psuedonym and who has taken action time and time again—
    I DO NOT MEAN CASWELL

    But the rest o wunna ?
    ERIC SEALY mussee Vexx!!
    WHO is going to take up the mantle ??
    WHO is going to mount a platform in Suttle Street, Nelso Street, Baxters Road and through town to tell the people the truth

    WHAT wunna waiting for
    DONT you all want to write wunna name on history’s page.
    The men nowadays aint got no fucking courage—–blaah !!!
    WUNNA is men too ??????

    JUST ASKING

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  25. ALL the ass wunna going to do is talk talk talk
    Wunna should be out there taking action protesting, occupying Bridgetown, marching to Government House, CONTACTING INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATIONS ETC.

    Wunna aint doing one fart
    Just a bunch of frightened people hiding behind a Blog an talking shite. I do not mean Caswell who eveybody knows and who does not hide behind a psuedonym and who has taken action time and time again—
    I DO NOT MEAN CASWELL

    But the rest o wunna ?
    ERIC SEALY mussee Vexx!!
    WHO is going to take up the mantle ??
    WHO is going to mount a platform in Suttle Street, Nelso Street, Baxters Road and through town to tell the people the truth

    WHAT wunna waiting for
    DONT you all want to write wunna name on history’s page.
    The men nowadays aint got no ourage—–blaah !!!
    WUNNA is men too ??????

    JUST ASKING

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  26. David the reason I continue to point the finger of blame at the journalists is because they are the ones who use their privileged positions to shape public opinion.I do not mean every last one of them,just those that allow political influence to dictate news dissemination.When a simple phone call from Hartley Henry could be taken as a bigger threat to press freedom than graphic photos of your journalists being manhandled by police officers,we get a very clear sense of the path on which our most read daily feels most comfortable.It is sickening.

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  27. I just saw on the CBC Evening News that Courts made a donation of furniture to a recipient of the UDC. The furniture was valved at a whopping $9,000.

    Don’t make me laugh. Somehow they feel that they could give away pittance and $25 million would be forgiven. Pay the damn money!!!

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  28. Courts should pay the money
    With this Mantra, Caswell , the Blog Moderator and the rest should be out on the streets protesting. This would be a good publicity stunt for Caswell and his Union. You all cannot just hide behind a Blog. You all have to chart a course. If you dont you will be seen as just talkers, no threat to the establishment and nuisances. Nothing is won without force. The strong . the weak . the bold. the meek

    Wunna frighten though
    frighten as ass

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  29. Just Asking

    Caswell and his union don’t do publicity stunts.

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  30. You have a lot to learn then Caswell !
    A lot
    I respect your tenacity but there are some things that must be done and sometimes those things might not be one’s forte but it does not mean that those things should be dismissed.

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  31. @ JUST ASKING | November 24, 2012 at 8:27 AM |

    Can Bushie agree with you ….just this once? :)
    ….Just Asking!

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  32. Go ahead Bushie
    Its all Hood
    Its all Good
    I am moving to the states to take up a post because Barbados and Bajans aint ready
    Intestinal Fortitude is teribbly lacking

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  33. @Just moving “I am moving to the states to take up a post”

    CORRECTION: You are moving to the states to WORK.

    Like

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