Categorized | National News


Attorney General Carl Bethel is not backing down in the face of threats by the Web Shop operators to fight the government in court over a proposal to hike taxes on their businesses.

Mr. Bethel told reporters outside of Cabinet yesterdaythat the government is ready for whatever stance the operators decide to take.

Attorney Wayne Munroe said yesterday that the the Bahamas Gaming Operators Association (BGOA) ordered him to take legal action against the governmentover the proposed  sliding  scale  increase and as much as a 50 per cent increase in taxes on the industry.

Attorney Alfred Sears reached out to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest on May 31 on the association’s behalf, when he asked to hold a meeting to formally discuss the issue.

However Mr. Bethel said, “If they sue, they will be fought in court, if the go underground; they’ll be dug up. We have a whole arsenal of powers under the Proceeds of Crime Act to deal with persons who decide that they want to break the law.”

He added, “In any event, we will defend the inalienable right of the government to determine through parliament who bears taxation and for what reasons and what is necessary in the interest of the fiscal health of the country.”

Gaming operators also raised the point that the government is being racist in their decision. However the Attorney General chalked this up as “emotional rhetoric”.

He said, “this issue of racism is utterly untrue and utterly irrelevant. What we have is a business that is essentially under taxed.

“It has been under taxed ever since they were liberated from the bonds of criminal activities they were in and given some kind of legal status. They have always been under taxed and it’s time for them now to pay their fair share of taxation.” he said.

Gaming operators have also issued a letter noting that the country may be blacklisted if they return underground, however Mr. Bethel brushed this claim off as “spurious” and “false”.


Written by Jones Bahamas

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