THE VISIT TO GRAND BAHAMA BY PLP LEADER

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Leader of the Opposition with Senators Fred Mitchell and Michael Darville at the Hugh Campbell Primary School in Freeport, Grand Bahama 11 February 2020.

A group of Grand Bahama businesses asked to see the Leader of the Opposition as the debate began in the Parliament for the on the supplementary budget where the Minister of Finance is seeking to get borrowing authority for 587 million more dollars.  The FNM says it is for hurricane relief but conveniently tucked in there is a request for 122 million dollars of unforeseen expenditure which from the evidence they knew they would have had to have done but hid it from the original budget so that the figures could look better than they actually were.  It is called cooking the books.  The businessmen wanted to complain about the way the Value Added Tax is applied at the border in what is supposed to be a VAT free zone.  It turns out that it is not a Vat free zone.  What they have done is zero rate a list of products in an order and at the border you have to argue with customs and the VAT office about what is or is not on the list.  This has caused massed confusion and because the items are zero rated the normal pay back mechanism to the merchant is not applicable when you charge the consumer VAT at the counter but the merchant pays VAT at the border. In other words, it is a mass of confusion  and despite appeals to the Minister of Finance, nothing has happened to improve the situation.  The Leader also took the opportunity to visit the students of the Hugh Campbell Primary School where the school is still under blue tarp six months after the storm and flies cover the campus.