In reference to the headline in Thursday’s Punch concerning Wendell Jones’ refusal to pay National Insurance contributions for his long-suffering staff. I would suggest this is not a loss to the Bahamas Exchequer as these funds do not belong in the public purse, contrary to what a number of PLP politicians may think. Instead these funds are paid to government to be held in trust for we Bahamian people until we require financial assistance during our working lives or until we retire and need to receive our own monies back in the form of our retirement pensions.
What Jones and others like him are doing is putting our very lives in serious jeopardy. It is one thing when Joe Blow, in the street, fails to make NI contributions, the only person he is hurting is himself, but when that same Joe Blow works for, what he thought was, a reputable employer, only to find that he has no pension to claim because that same employer pocketed Joe’s contributions, then there is a cataclysmic problem. One can only wonder if simple imprisonment of that employer is adequate punishment.
Possibly what is more important to the well-being of our entire nation is the Punch’s other headline, also found in the Tribune of Thursday’s date, that of Madame Pindling’s, alleged, failure to pay some $300,000 of property tax owed to the Treasury and also; somewhat glossed-over in the Jones article above, his failure to pay any government fees, licences, duties, levies etc. also for a considerable time.
There has been more than enough published, over the past few months, concerning the abysmal collection processes at all government entities and in many cases this has been aggravated by, at best, “interference” by the very top management of those departments, in some cases verging on the criminal.
The situation has become so bad that it is said only some 25% – 30% of real property taxes are collected and less than 50% of Customs Duties. Now we have a Prime Minister, who knows exactly where the funds should come from but, instead, is demanding we pay a Value Added Tax, because we are not paying enough to the Bahamas Exchequer for our over-paid, under-worked parliamentarians to waste on our very un-civil servants and, the latest crass idea, new, unnecessary, parliamentary buildings.
Of course, if we are cursed with a VAT, one could prophesy that about 40% would actually be collected!
By: H. Armbrister
Source: Weblog Bahamas