Should Barbados abolish Income Tax and boost VAT? Panel Discussion mulls consequences of bold move…

2010 in all of its battered and bludgeoned façade will soon retreat into the shadows of history, while 2011 is just a sparkle in the eye of most folks, that sparkle – however – may be that of a Knuckle Duster waiting to cold-cock you as the full import of Value Added Tax/VAT lurks to assault Bajans like a Ted Bundy on a deserted parking lot at closing time.

Most businesses this Christmas made a gesture of “absorbing” the new versus old VAT as a Christmas gift until the New Year, one can only wonder what profits were already in their coffers to promote such magnanimity?

Economist Tennyson Backles posed a number of queries to the Panel, but due to a hectic schedule - he did not stay to hear all of the responses he sought.

You may well recall during the aftermath of Chris Sinckler’s maiden budget, a suggestion was made to push VAT all they way to 20% and remove the Treasury’s lien on all Barbadian’s wages. When the ruling DLP had a Panel Discussion at their George Street Auditorium on “The True Effect of the Budgetary Proposals on Civil Society” this question was posed to the panel which included Andy Armstrong – President of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Peter Carter – Chartered Accountant, and the moderator was popular radio talk show host, Tony Marshall.

Although none of the Panel had obvious ties to government, nonetheless all of them were unanimous in their disagreement of such a concept, let’s see why they disagreed…

The vote of thanks was delivered by Cabinet Minister Esther Byer-Suckoo, seated at extreme right.

Peter Carter stated if VAT was jacked a further 2.5% and no Income Tax, this would lead to a halt in consumer spending {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

The Chartered Accountant felt if VAT was boosted and then Bajans chose not to spend, then you defeated the purpose of the emolument.

President of the BCCI cited VAT levels across the world, yet none of them removed Income Tax as a supplement to the average consumer’s spending power {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Mr Armstrong is of the view if a person has a more income then they should assist more in the financial upkeep of Barbados, however one has to draw a very fine line between doing what is right to make a nation’s pockets be capable and offending the voters who may remember what happened to their spending power when next elections return for the public.

Some of the moderate crowd for the presentation at George Street

While their assertions may seem logical, at the same time, I approached a number of people about the idea of 20% VAT with NO income tax behind it, and this met with approval of not only the Bajan on the Corner; but with many executives who while privately felt this is the way forward, although publicly – for certain constraints and considerations – they felt they had to appear to take a more stringent approach.

BARP's Executive Manager, Alphea Rock introduced the session - from Port to Starboard? Peter Carter, Tony Marshall & Andy Armstrong, not ANDERSON as so many people making the unnecessary goof!

While still living, the late David Thompson felt that entrepreneurism is the way forward for Barbados to recede from the fiscal doldrums which still grip some parts of the word even now. However, one of the audience that day sees certain parts of the Public Sector allowing personal feelings to interfere with allowing Bajans to create their own jobs {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Entrepreneurs given full reign may have avoided the current financial crisis – according to the participant – he’s also of the view that Public Sector officials get jealous at seeing simple plans worth far more than the paper they’re printed on and now await their approval and suddenly are sidelined for flimsy excuses, at least this the contention offered the Panel.

Even the Moderator felt more young Bajans when attending UWI need to choose Commerce as a career option, rather than Law or Medicine. Since many hopeful entrepreneurs lack sufficient training in areas of creating wealth {CLICK ON FOLLOWING LINK FOR FULL AUDIO};-

Entrepreneurs seldom provide Investors with sufficient preparation and a comprehensive Business plan to encourage people to want to fund projects, these same impresarios tend to avoid expert opinions to supplement their concepts as the consultancy fee can be exorbitant, yet the lack of such research denies them the results they look for.

Submissions were also made by Tennyson Beckles and ex-Broadcaster Patrick Gollop on Waste-To-Energy at the discussion, which was the final for 2010 – with a new slate of topics being readied by coordinator Besley Maycock soon to be announced.

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