VAT & Crank? Many Barbadians cranky over hikes in Chris Sinckler’s 1st Budget

The other shoe finally fell not with a soft tap but a resounding thud, possibly after passing through many cow-pies along with hobnails embedded, Barbadians from varying socio-economic backgrounds have vented or defended – those upholding what new Finance Minister Christopher Sinckler has sought to implement may not necessarily be of a Political persuasion but rather of a strict economic training…

Finger on the pulse of Barbados? The Photoshop fiend who supplied this despicable classic illustration has the name of *Rodney King* - Yes, the same name as the reason behind the Los Angeles riot in the 90's "Can't we all just get along?"

Rather than seek to provide a full commentary, I am quoting the reactions which are peopling the Barbados contingent of Facebook at the moment – but before I do here’s a thumbnail overview of what the Budget did;-

  • PSV Operators & Small Rum-Shop Owners got an ease in licenses (However the PSV’s have to prove they earned the reduction, any bad behaviour and the fees remain as before)
  • Bus fare to become $2.00 by January 2011 (This was an increase proposed by the previous regime via Anthony Wood, but Owen Arthur repealed the plan once 2008 Elections were called)
  • Passports cost more as of December
  • VAT is now 17.5% for 18 months with no indication if the exempted Basket of Goods still stands, the increase will be under review after period elapses with no guarantee if the boost will drop or either if it increases even further
  • Credit Union Membership no longer a rebate for Income Tax purposes, however no indication if one can still claim on Mortgages
  • Pharmaceuticals can be as much as 70% more if bought at a Private Rx where waiting is less, as opposed to getting it for free at one of island’s Polyclinics where carrying “War & Peace” plus the entire “Lord Of The Rings” along with a full 16GB iPod are not enough material while you wait for service (That’s presuming if the attendants take a shine to you)
  • RUM GONE UP – Many Bajans plus Jack Sparrow will be outraged at this! Can you imagine tomorrow’s rebuttal?

Those were a few of the main issues which affect average Bajans, let’s see what FB’s Bajan posse thinks?

  • PRO – “Here is what I would do if I was the Minister of Finance of Barbados; abolish income tax and raise bus fares to $2.00, introduce a monthly cell phone tax, raise VAT to 20%, introduce a tax incentive for home businesses, invite another telecommunications giant like Sprint to Barbados and introduce a road toll. Abolish Corporation Tax for companies earning less than $250,000 yearly and introduce a graded fixed monthly surcharge i.e. a company with income of $20,000 income would pay $1500 while a company earning $2,000 monthly would pay $150. Thus, the emphasis would be to encourage enterprise and increase revenue via an indirect taxation.”
  • PRO – “You do realize that we get off easy with this budget right. IMO, this was only a show to get the ratings agencies off of our backs because we cant take another downgrade. My man, you should be smiling.”
  • CON#1 – “Unfortunately for Bds, Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler’s Budget delivered Nov 22 was little more than an exercise in “smokescreen politics“. It consisted of a wide array of minor benefits to various niche interests in an attempt to disguise the harshness of the major tax increases, especially VAT, which he inflicted on an already staggering economy… (cont’d)”
  • PRO – “Amazed and dumbfounded: I hope all of you who claimed “He lik muh up!” Don’t step foot into the Beres show and all up in the $200 VIP section and wearing $1000 outfits.”
  • CON#2 – “The majority of our entrepreneurs and private sector managers must now have even less confidence in this govt.’s ability to design and implement appropriate macro economic policies to mitigate the disastrous effects of this unprecedented (in our lifetime anyway) economic depression on Bds. (cont’d)”
  • PRO – “Well the budget went alot better that I expected thought it would have been worst… not too happy about the vat but I expected it and it needs to be reviewed after the 18 mths as promised. Removing the allowance for the Credit Union membership was quite an interesting move… Barbadians need to be realistic if we are to survive serious measures have to be taken besides it could be worse…”
  • CON#3 – “(Concl.) Mr Sinckler spent a substantial part of his preamble blaming the previous administration for our current troubles. C’mon Chris – your side has had 3 years of power. The DLP now OWNS this mess – no one else. We’ve had 3 years of inaction from this govt and now a massive dose of taxation to further bog down economic activity. Rome has been burning for 3 years, Minister – you and your govt need to stop fiddling”
  • PRO – “Wonder why every1 is so shocked ’bout da budget….were y’all really expectin’ anything different? I mean, wunna livin’ like everything is peachy but it hasn’t been for a while, open ur eyes, the world is in crisis, you’re owed nothing. Trust in The Almighty & hope ya survive cause if u think its up to u, u really dont have a clue.”
  • CON – “I always said to myself that we shudda reverted back to a system of bartering. We fore-parents had a good thing gine and some j****y ***k it up wid de introduction of money. Now we pay twice for the things we owe. If somebody did want a pig fuh xmas, I wudda accept 2 chickens.”
  • PRO/CON;- “Now that we’ve gotten the medicine, bitter as it is, and no lollipop, we await the reply. That too will have no sweeties.”
  • CON – “The very rich and the very poor will get help. Who will care for the middle class?”
  • PRO & Classic – “Dear Inside Woman; I have implemented my own monetary policy since de budget. I can no longer drop you to work, pick you up from class or drop you mudda to church. All 2 a wunna can tek de bus. De lotta tings you like to pick up in de supermarket when de week come will now be cut by 75%. The other 25% betta be in de basket a goods. I dun carrying you, de chil’ren, ya best friend & ya cousin by Cheffette 3 & 4 times a week. From now on all a we eating Sardine Pelau. I get a whole set a movies from de fella in front Pricemart, dem and de big able 42 in TV ya mek me buy gun have to do. In closing, while I luv Shaniqua like a daughter, she en my child so find she wufless fada & mek he pull he pocket! I hope you en vex cause at least you still getting someting. De outside woman get fire! Wif luv.”
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  1. Very intriguing look at the pulse of Bajans here. I know I wouldn’t be re-electing the DLP if my life depended on it.


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