Bahamas Debate: Was Prime Minister Behind On Tax?

Go Lean Commentary

Photo - Perry Christie in ParliamentThe news article below is from The Tribune, a daily newspaper that covers the Bahamas. The story touches on a critical mission and motivation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU):

To re-boot the revenue systems that the region’s member-state governments depend on.

The book Go Lean … Caribbean, which serves as a roadmap for implementing the Caribbean Union Trade Federation, commences with an opening Declaration of Interdependence. In Verse XIV (Page 12) it pronounces:

Whereas government services cannot be delivered without the appropriate funding mechanisms, “new guards” must be incorporated to assess, accrue, calculate and collect revenues, fees and other income sources for the Federation and member-states. The Federation can spur government revenues directly through cross-border services and indirectly by fostering industries and economic activities not possible without the Union.

The below article crystalizes a debate. The country is mid-stream in implementing a new eco-system for assessing – collecting a Value-Added Tax (VAT). The proponents of the VAT are convinced that this is the panacea for the failure of real property tax collection, where even prominent politicians admit to not complying with the current taxing requirement. The foregoing debate is that maybe even the Prime Minister, Perry G. Christie, is delinquent, or may have been in the past. See the article here:

By: Khrisna Virgil, Tribune Staff Reporter (

FNM (Bahamian Opposition Party) Deputy leader Loretta Butler-Turner is calling on Prime Minister Perry Christie to fully disclose whether he at some point fell behind in paying his real property taxes, and, if so, the years involved.

Branding him as the worst Prime Minister the Bahamas has seen to date, Mrs Butler-Turner criticised Mr Christie following his admission that he was unaware of which PLP parliamentarians, if any, were in arrears with their taxes.

The comments came amid a wave of backlash sparked following VAT advisor Ishmael Lightbourne’s confession that he had not paid real property taxes over the last decade. He owe’s the government more than $7,000.

The Christie administration has been heavily criticised since news of Mr Lightbourne’s delinquent account went public, especially as the government struggles to make its case that VAT is a suitable revenue-generating system.

It was Mrs Butler-Turner’s opinion that Mr Christie was “the most incompetent and irresponsible Prime Minister and Minister of Finance since the advent of Cabinet government in the Bahamas. He is very good at pleading ignorance and very poor at accepting responsibility.

“For the sake of accountability and responsibility might Mr. Christie advise if there were years when he did not pay his real property taxes in a timely manner and how many years this involved?

“If Mr Christie failed to ask (PLP parliamentarians), he is even more incompetent and slacker as Prime Minister than previously thought.

“He now says, ‘I will in fact review that with a view to seeing those of us who are in arrears of the various requirements in terms of taxes and with a view to advising them to meet the payments.’

“Why is he just doing this now, nearly two years after returning to office and on the eve of introducing legislation on VAT, legislation that has been postponed on three occasions by an incompetent government?

“He wants the Bahamian people to pay taxes and wants to raise taxes on law-abiding citizens, including the poor, but doesn’t know who in his own ranks are paying taxes? Is there one standard for the Bahamian people and another standard for PLP parliamentarians?”

Mrs Butler-Turner accused the Christie administration of being one of double standards, made clear, she said, by the actions of some PLPs. She added that seemingly it does not matter if taxes are raised or lowered because there are members of the government who simply do not pay.
Source: The Tribune – Daily newspaper online site (Retrieved 02/26/2014) –

There are countless anecdotes in the Bahamas, and other countries with similar tax schemes and regimes, where property taxes had not been paid for decades, and only when there is a need for property title transfer (sale or inheritance), does the issue of tax collection become relevant. Does that anecdote also apply to the current Bahamian Prime Minister? This is not known here and now! Nor is it considered in the Go Lean book. The charge in the foregoing article seems to be more of a sensational political volley, rather than a statement of fact.

The CU, on the other hand, takes an apolitical, non-partisan stance. Further the Go Lean book asserts  that even the originator of Christianity, Jesus Christ, advised his followers to “pay Caesar’s things to Caesar”. This is found in a Chapter entitled:

10 Lessons from the Bible (Page 144).

(Note: the Bahamas claims to be a Christian nation).

The CU mission is to implement the complete eco-system for property tax assessment, registration and collections. The roadmap advocates an optimized tactic where the CU operates as a technocratic deputized agency and acquires “Receivables” for a country’s property taxes, in advance, and then subsequently facilitates collections and servicing. Imagine the Bahamas, and other similar member-states, under this new regime, receiving a warrant (securitized payment) of 80% of the amount of tax revenues that should be collected in a “perfect scenario” – 10 Ways to Pay For Change (Page 101). It then becomes the job of the CU’s technocratic professionals to complete the collection cycle – removing any political prejudices from the process – 10 Ways to Improve Credit Ratings (Page 155).

Without a doubt, this approach is far better than the status quo.

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


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