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DNA commentary: Murder and mayhem in paradise!
Submitted by the DNA Party   
Tuesday, 26 August 2014 15:31
In the wake of yet another weekend of bloodshed here in New Providence, a weekend which saw the Prime Minister’s own Press Secretary slain during the early morning hours, a weekend which saw 4 other Bahamian families become the victims of tragic and unnecessary loss, the nation’s leader is again heading “back to the drawing board” to re-examine the government’s strategies on crime.

Before taking office in May of 2012, this PLP administration berated the then Free National Movement government on their failures to keep the rising crime rate in check. In fact, this Christie led administration plastered crime statistics on billboards as part of an election campaign tactic. They assured the public that they had the answers to addressing crime and the fear of crime in the Bahamas; touting programs like Project Safe Bahamas and Urban Renewal 2.0. Bahamians bought into the promises of the PLP but have so far received no return on that investment.

Sadly, now more than 2 years into this term in office, crime remains perhaps the most pressing of all the country’s national concerns. We, in the Democratic National Alliance are saddened by the loss of ALL lives, and the recent escalation in violent crime over the past several months is proof that none among us, even those in the higher echelons of government, are safe; sentiments which were also echoed by the country’s Deputy Prime Minister last year, after both an attack on his driver, and on he and his family at their home months later.

Even more disturbing though is an emerging trend within this Christie led administration which suggests that only an attack on one of their own seems to prompt or warrant the attention of the PM and a full scale re-examination of crime strategies.  Would such a re-examination of police efforts been at the forefront of the PM’s mind had his press secretary not been one of the victims? Would the four other murders have been enough to warrant Mr. Christie’s intervention? Or was it only because the matter hit close to home did the PM decide to call a meeting with the relevant stakeholders?
Security expert Gaylord Taylor's continuing series on fraud as it relates to VAT
Submitted by Yasmin Popescu   
Friday, 22 August 2014 08:21

By Gaylord Taylor, CEO, AGT Security Services in Grand Bahama

In this article I will continue my discussion on Fraud, but with a bit more focus on Value Added Tax as it is a topical issue and one that many Bahamian business owners and consumers are concerned about.

V.A.T is a very attractive form of taxation for most governments simply because of the ”catch all quality” of this particular tax mechanism. A value-added tax (VAT) is a form of consumption tax. From the perspective of the buyer, it is a tax on the purchase price. From that of the seller, it is a tax only on the value added to a product, material, or service, from an accounting point of view, by this stage of its manufacture or distribution. The manufacturer remits to the government the difference between these two amounts, and retains the rest for themselves to offset the taxes they had previously paid on the inputs.

The purpose of VAT is to generate tax revenues to the government similar to the corporate income tax or the personal income tax. The value added to a product by or with a business is the sale price charged to its customer, minus the cost of materials and other taxable inputs. A VAT is like a sales tax in that ultimately only the end consumer is taxed. It differs from the sales tax in that, with the latter, the tax is collected and remitted to the government only once, at the point of purchase by the end consumer.

With the VAT collection remittances to the government, and credits for taxes already paid occur each time a business in the supply chain purchases products. It’s also self-regulating thereby in terms of resources used in its collection provides a minimal input by a government maintained revenue collection service. V.A.T therefore by its very nature is prone to manipulation as it depends on the honesty of business’ to account for their revenue intake from V.A.T.

Cable Bahamas awaiting response from BCPOU
Submitted by Cable Bahamas Ltd   
Friday, 22 August 2014 07:49

NASSAU, Bahamas -- Cable Bahamas today expressed its disappointment and surprise with the Bahamas Communications and Public Officers Union (BCPOU) statement reported to the press today regarding its relationship with the union.

The company stated that it has been abiding by a Supreme Court ruling and has been working with the leadership of the BCPOU in good faith over the years. Truth be told, the most recent discussions with the BCPOU and Cable Bahamas' labour consultants took place, on two occasions in May of this year. At the meeting, the union chose to advise Cable Bahamas that it would continue the discussions but would send their preferred approach in writing. Cable Bahamas is still awaiting communication from the BCPOU as promised.   

Cable Bahamas further stated that the health and safety of its employees and customers, in all of its facilities, has always been a top priority. The company advised that it is working closely and in correspondence with all Government agencies associated with the environmental disaster it is currently enduring at its Robinson Road customer service building. The company is working to ensure the earliest possible resolution to this matter for the neighbourhood, the employees and the company's affected facility.

Cable Bahamas prides itself in the fact that it is 100% Bahamian owned, considered as one of the premier employers in the country, employing approximately 500 Bahamians.

Coalition of Concerned Citizens will intensify efforts to lower the cost of power
Submitted by Pastor Eddie Victor   
Friday, 22 August 2014 07:47

Pastor Eddie Victor for the Coalitation of Concerned Citizens

The people of Grand Bahama continue to experience hardship from the excessive cost of electricity being provided by the Grand Bahama Power Company / Emera. Hundreds of our brothers and sisters and fellow citizens are still living in darkness throughout this Island. Despite the Coalition’s efforts to this point and the two roundtable meetings organized by the Government with Grand Bahama Power Company/Emera, the Power Company will not change its policies to make life better for Grand Bahamians. People’s livelihood and the Island’s economy is under severe threat by the economic bondage of the Grand Bahama Power Company/Emera. What is of further concern to us is that several weeks ago the power company disconnected the electricity of all our Government Schools on Grand Bahama clearly demonstrating that this company does not respect the Government of the Bahamas neither the people of Grand Bahama.

The Coalition of Concerned Citizens will intensify efforts in the weeks and months to come to lower the cost of power in the immediate future. The Government of the Bahamas is working diligently to lower the cost of electricity across the Bahamas. Our Government is presently in the process of privatizing BEC and we are aware that one of the bidding companies is promising to build a new plant and lower the cost of electricity by as much as 50%. GBPC\Emera built a new plant in 2012 and there has been no reduction in electricity rate. We also know that the Grand Bahama Port Authority is committed to lowering the cost of electricity on the Island, but it seems that the only one that does not get it is the Grand Bahama Power Company\Emera.

The CCC will be implementing several strategies designed to produce results. One of those strategies is that we are calling for a ‘Solar Energy Revolution’, calling for all residents and businesses as quickly as possible to transition to using Solar Energy. Solar Energy will give Citizens of this Island the means to control their own electricity cost. Furthermore, under the leadership of Osman Johnson attorney at law, an Association for customers of the Power Company will be formed for the purpose of representing their concerns directly with the GBPC\Emera and the Regulators.

DNA commentary: The PLP Unleashes the VAT BOMB!
Submitted by the DNA Party   
Friday, 22 August 2014 07:34
With Value Added Tax (VAT) now just 4 months away, the legislative arm of the government has only now completed debate on the laws which will govern tax reform in the Bahamas.  In just 132 days, scores of businesses will be forced to confront the impact of the new taxes on their profit margins, which has raised concerns about further job losses and a deferment of new hires in an already struggling national economy.  

True to form however, this Christie led administration has waited until the 11th hour to table, debate and pass the legislation making any real preparation on the part of the local business community, nearly impossible.  Even as Wednesday evening’s debate wrapped, scores of Bahamians in various sectors of society remain unclear about how this new tax will truly affect their lives.

Most noteworthy however, was Mr. Christie’s absence from the actual vote.  Billed as the cornerstone of the Prime Minister’s plans for fiscal reform in the Bahamas, VAT will have long lasting and far reaching implications for the citizenry of this country; however the PM’s failure to be present when the bill was passed displays a lack of focus and calls into question his commitment to providing economic stability.

Over the past few days, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has watched ministers of government attempt to defend the need for VAT by blaming the former administration for the country’s financial woes. While the Free National Movement (FNM) indeed played a key role in the mismanagement of the nation’s wealth, it is not a pattern of behavior limited only to that party. Successive governments – including the first Christie led government – have spent recklessly, borrowed without restraint and sold for little gain, invaluable natural resources. Now however, hardworking Bahamian families and businesses have left holding the bag. We, the people are now being forced to bear the burden of additional taxes in an environment where government officials, their friends, families and lovers are exempt.
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