$144 Million Projected Revenue Evaporates Due to Government Failure to Consult

Jun 26, 2023

Every day with the new day PLP government is like another worrisome adventure that could land you anywhere but where you’d rather be. Their abrupt U turn on cruise passenger tax was another such adventure, which raises a new question, “where is the money they will now lose because of the reversal of their decision coming from and is the answer more taxes on the Bahamian people?”

With that “U Turn” decision, the budgeted revenue projections have just been upended and the budget exercise further Fails to deliver for the Bahamian people as a result. The evaporation of the $144 million projected revenue sucks the wind out of the budget sail!

This concession is further evidence of the charge laid by FNM leader Michael Pintard that this government is one that flies by the seat of the pants without adequate consultation or consideration of their policy choices and actions. Clearly the administration did not consult with the cruise industry or airlines on what this TAX INCREASE would mean to the tourism industry and to Bahamian passengers also.

Just as they did with their decision to increase taxes on insurance, medical services, breadbasket items, road traffic, boat registration and a host of others, this government continues to act as authoritarian rulers rather than democratic partners with the Bahamian people and foreign stakeholders who are vital to our economic stability.

As an aside, the hypocrisy of Mr. Cooper and Mr. Davis and their colleagues is astounding. Just this week, they criticized the former government for amending the Real Property Tax Act to correct a drafting error that would have removed the cap on high end properties, which was not a policy decision of the then government. Today, however, we see a deliberate action by the government to reverse a much touted revenue generating TAX on mostly foreign tourist, according to the Prime Minister, after one day of protest by the cruise industry.

This capitulation came on the heels of the Prime Minister walking back his Health Minister’s Sugar Tax proposal after the reality was exposed to him on what that meant to the light manufacturing and wholesale industry by lobbyists and stakeholders. Another embarrassing reversal by this Prime Minister and his government. Such reversals may have been unnecessary had they consulted or taken sound advice.

We warned the government that their hasty uninformed decisions did not take into consideration the fact that millions of tourists had already booked their vacation well in advance and the Cruise companies (Not the passengers) would have to eat those unexpected costs if the Act came into force on the date projected. Furthermore, the government needed to have a clear sense on what impact such an increase will have on the competitiveness of our jurisdiction.

The lack of discipline in spending by this Davis-Cooper administration has made them desperate for revenue has led them to tax citizens and businesses to find such revenue without proper discussions and consideration of the impact. Shame.

Hon. Michael Pintard

Free National Movement, Leader

June 26, 2023

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