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Letter: Why are you imposing a 15pct tax along with the existing 6pct tax on imports?
Published on June 7, 2013 Email To Friend    Print Version

To the Hon Elected Ministers
Purported representatives acting on behalf and representing the residents, citizens, belongers, natives, visitors, Turks and Caicos Islanders of the Turks and Caicos Islands
Dr Hon Rufus Washington Ewing
Hon Akierra Missick
Hon C. Washington Misick
Hon George Lightbourne
Hon Amanda Misick
Hon Porsha Stubbs-Smith
Turks and Caicos Government

cc. The Rt Hon Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson, Leader of the Opposition
      The Rt Hon Sean Astwood, Deputy Leader.

Re: Hon Ministers, why are you imposing 15% taxes along with the already 6% tax on imports?

Hon Ministers, there are some fundamental and far-reaching questions that we as a people face and we look to you for critical answers. Now the British did what they could to shove value added tax (VAT) down our throats. The most important question being that it would severely increase the cost of living, send prices up, cause suffering and starvation, wreck what was left of the TCI’s economy and posed a critical national and economic security threat to our growth and future. Never before as a people and an economy have we been so attacked and challenged.

Recently, the Hon Minister of Finance announced that the government was to implement a 15% tax on imported goods and we are understanding it as a trade-off between that and VAT. A number of points must now arise.

(a) Why 15% and why so high?

(b) VAT was being posed down our throats at the rate of 11% and as such there is now a three-point difference.

(c) You are giving us a measure, higher than VAT, not being “forced” because you are all duly “elected”

(d) British could not do it at 11% but you, Hon Elected Ministers of the people, are seemingly getting to do what VAT could not?

One must ask the following questions:

1. Why 15%?

2. Why so high?

3. Is this better or worse than VAT?

4. Owing to you all being “elected” should we accept this and treat this measure as not having the impact of “wrecking our economy or posing a vital national economic security threat?

5. The past chief financial officer (CFO) held town hall meetings, engaged the public, told the public that he was going to impose VAT, appreciated that it would wreck the economy but insisted on pressing on. Why have you, Hon elected ministers, decided not to hold public meetings and deal with the impact of this new across the board and potentially inflationary tax?

6. With the already 6% customs processing fee and this added 15% now 21% across the board and at the dock how is this new tax better than VAT?

7. Again, Hon Ministers how is this 21% better than the 11%?

8. Please say if these are things that you all campaigned on faithfully promised the people.

9. If not, Hon Ministers was this something that the British and the Governor forced on you and can we in the public square go around and blame the British for? If this was forced on you, Hon Elected Ministers, and if you are against it because it will hurt our people and our economy, why have you not all resigned and told the Governor to implement it himself?

10. Who do we blame?

Now, Hon Ministers, we are aware that some serious issues face us as a country. Why is it that despite public warnings this governor is insisting on racking up more debt and liability? Why are you allowing him to add to our potential tax bill by fighting the Conch Farm, which threatens to create jobs and supporting other projects? Why are you allowing the governor to place the people and the islands in the way of another $100 million in losses and debt to the Conch Farm? Many of us in the TCI do not agree that we need more taxes. We know of the refusal to investigate the hospital deal and its rationale for high spending causing the need for higher taxes. A multibillion dollar bill. Hon Ministers, people see these taxes as a means of making somebody in the UK richer and a source of impoverishing our people and our economy.

People expect for you to stand up to this “madness.”

This letter is addressed to both parties to avoid the issue becoming political. The opposition has already warned that VAT is coming but many of us did not expect it to come like this.

Each week people watch with anticipation and expectation for the Post Cabinet releases where projects are announced such as West Caicos Resort being resumed, the Marriott coming, Verandah sold, Marina for Grand Turk. We ask with this kind of economic expansion planned and coming why the higher taxes. Would these new projects have the effect of expanding the economy and getting around the need for higher taxes? Or we ask whether these new taxes 21% give rise to more flight of capital and a decision from new developers to ‘hold off until we get our fiscal act together’? Fiscal act or the need for a reduced taxed appetite: fix the hospital deal, remove the billion dollar obligation, leave the Conch Farm alone, cut spending and we are away from the need for higher taxes.

Take note, ministers, that this is not a good development and it is a very bad idea. It will hurt our country and your legacy. You are being asked to stop this madness and to really lower taxes and cut spending. Start with the hospital deal and investigate the artificial high costs of that project which is taking over $5 million a month from the Treasury and directly causing higher taxes. Deal with the governor on the Conch Farm issue and tell him because the public will be asked to pay that it is really and truly none of his business! People need to ask why are you allowing the governor to have his way with the Conch Farm lawsuit and you sitting by idly. Are you running the country? You will also know that, if the case is lost and the bill comes in to the government at $100 million, people will be wondering if taxes will go up any further. But why stop a project that will bring in more jobs? Why are elected members sitting by idly and letting this happen? This paints a bad picture and is bad for our economy:

“An increase in the previous 11 percent hospitality tax and a tax on water sports joins massive increases in licence fees. Even the police have entered the tax business, raising firearms licence fees from $400 to $800 per year. Passenger vehicle licences have risen from $35 in 2003 to upwards of $175 currently. There is, in addition, a 10 percent tax now on insurance costs.

“Many observers are now saying the tax increases will continue to prove counterproductive. Black markets and diminished imports will be joined by continued emigration of islanders, thus reducing the revenue actually collected from these increased taxes.

“The tax increases, which represent a heavy burden for islanders and which have resulted in an economic contraction, began under former finance minister Floyd Hall, who also anticipated a property tax and increased income taxes. He imposed the first tax on fuel and began the increases in licence fees.

“Despite the tax increases, the Progressive National Party (PNP)-led government of 2003-2009 continued to overspend and hide unpaid bills and costs.

“This led to the current debt level of a reported $180 million, plus $120 million for the two small hospitals, making the TCI debt now in excess of $300 million.”

Finally, Hon Ministers: Please lower taxes; what you are doing is bad policy. First you are condoning past wrongs and increasing our taxes to pay for what the former government did. Also the billionaire in England is directly benefiting from these increased taxes. You are also making the islands less attractive as a place to invest and do business. Tourism will suffer and monies will leave the islands. Please consider your actions, Hon Ministers and stop Gov. Ric Todd in his tracks.

We ask again. Are you forcing these taxes, are these your ideas or do ‘they’ have a proverbial gun to your heads?

Is this what you campaigned on?

Ingrid Williams
Reads: 7737

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And just to show the lies, ask Misick why do he need a Blue Ribbon Committee on Taxes. Because he never had a tax plan to replace VAT. Lies, lies, and more lies.

As simple as I can say it, VAT was to tax 11%, the PNP and the PDM along with the Business Community blocked it, now; instead of pay 11% you will be paying 21%, that is what WE wanted through our elected representatives.

VAT net results would had been a net increase of $10,000,000, Missick's (PNP) recommended would had been a net increase of $15,000,000; $5,000,000 more than VAT, but obviously that was what we wanted because the PNP and the PDM has the VAT implementation blocked for Missick's alternate. So what are we crying for?

And just to show the lies, ask Misick why do he need a Blue Ribbon Committee on Taxes. Because he never had a tax plan to replace VAT. Lies, lies, and more lies.

And please stop blaming the Governor!


Concerned No2:

I understand a lot of your comments except - the billionaire in the UK getting rich - what - who is this and what has he got to do with this??

The money goes to the government of TCI and is required to pay off the debts of the former government.

This island needs money so why not improve the services on island and generate money that way - ie issue driving licences, work permits etc - all these things that are presently in chaos - let people who want to work actually work so they can put money into the economy....

Patti Forbes:

That's the point. The former PNP, the Billionaire, the owner of Belize Bank, all colluded in a hospital deal, three times the real cost, actually 10 times, payments of $5 million alone from the Treasury are used to pay for this monthly. The Billionaire is protected by the SIPT, TCI's AG, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. TCI people are working for him.


This would be easier to stomach if the government broke the Provo Stevedoring contract, which would lower port charges dramatically. We all seem to forget about that little deal from the previous government! If they were to be released from service and the shipping companies looked after their own handling at South Dock, it would probably even out. No one would get hurt except Provo Stevedoring, who have been screwing us since they were installed!



It is a little more than eyes can see! But to get a clearer picture, talk to Ray Charles. The four blind mice(s), see how they run.

And who is making the funds available to pay the billionaires? TCIs, the PDM and the PNP by rejecting VAT and choosing some unknown method of taxation, now labeled "charge as I feel" to make the extra $5 million taxes promised.

Yes, and all the work-permit approvals; well, the PNP is satisfied the way the business community is treating the unemployed, so why worry?

Why tamper with the stevedors' contract, when, after-all, it was reviewed by the now Deputy Governor when she was in the Ministry of Finance - a selling point to her PS - Finance post selection?



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