Submitted by Heather Cole of The Barbados Lobby
On December 16, 1773, there was a political protest in the Boston Harbor by the Sons of Liberty. The protest was simple but yet effective. It was simple because it was the destruction of 342 chests […]
of tea by dumping them into the harbor.
It was effective because it culminated thirteen years of increasing British oppression through taxation on the thirteen seaboard colonies in the USA. It was effective because it was the trigger that led to the American Revolution and ultimately independence from Britain.
Tea was a commodity that was used by the colonist every day and cellphones are now used by the people of Barbados every day. The situation in Barbados is similar, eight years of oppressive taxation with thirty five new taxes to which a VAT of 22% was added on cellphone calls yesterday.
A few weeks ago it seemed to be the eighth wonder of the world when the Minister of Education from out of nowhere informed the nation that cellphones which were previously prohibited would be allowed in schools. It makes one wonder if taxation was the intent that caused the Minister of Education to allow cellphones in schools.
Eventually this taxation crisis in Barbados will lead to a showdown and the cellphone tax may very well be the straw that breaks the proverbial camel’s back. This will only happen if the people believe that the 22% VAT on cellphone calls have violated their rights to speak for as long as they please.
This tax brings into question the extent and legitimacy of Parliament’s authority to infringe on the constitutional rights of the people. Will the next tax be on the air that one breathes? It may very well be if the Cahill Plasma Gasification Plant becomes a reality. If the people abstain from this tax by turning off their cell phone services the tax will not be collected and the government will be the loser. The Government’s solution should be to find projects to earn income and not resort to taxation.
There is a need for an iconic event to change the outlook in Barbados; that will lead to the first Barbados Revolution that changes politics, the government, governance and the mindset of the inertia on the island. As the Sons of Liberty proved, change can only come from the people. One hopes that the imposition of the 22% VAT on cellphones will create the catalyst for change that the island is crying out for.
Defiance and resistance are missing in Barbados. Perhaps we need our Sons of Liberty to prove that a political protest can work. So while the Government is attending all of its pomp and pageantry the people should be having a VAT party. There is no tea but there is an abundance of the sea all around the island. Symbolically, VAT can be dumped into the sea. Why not have a VAT party on November 3oth to let the government know how the people feel.