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An article by Peeping Tom in Kaieteur News, dated December 17, 2022, headlined “The Government should provide the evidence,” caught my attention. The article highlighted many issues, including that of racism and discrimination. But the comment about the Coalition instituting “200 Taxes on the Guyanese people”, another blatant piece of the PPP/C’s propaganda chorus, drew my ire hence this letter. Like Peeping Tom, I do have searching questions and would like the PPP/C regime to provide the information to support these ridiculous statements. Let them make public the list of 200 additional taxes instituted by the Coalition.
Editor, for the benefit of your readers, the PPP/C took office in October 1992. In their first budget on March 12, 1993, titled “Reconstruction for Human Development,” a number of taxes were increased. For Hotel Accommodation, a 10% fee was charged on rooms. This took effect from March 15, 1993. Also, taxes, licenses and other fees administered by The Inland Revenue Department’s License Revenue Department, were increased. These included: License fees for vehicles, trading and betting shop licenses, road traffic vehicles fees, airport departure tax, tax on airline tickets, professional fees and revenue stamps on passports (Annex 2 on page 46 of the budget speech of 1993). Many of the taxes/fees were increased by 100%.
There were also increases in taxes when budget 1994 was read on March 7, 1994. This resulted in increased taxes for “motor vehicles other than minibuses, value or rent-free quarters or residence, increase in licenses for TV dishes, both at the personal and commercial levels, including transmitting stations,” (reference pages 55-61 of budget speech for 1994). I was still in high school at that time, but I gathered citizens expressed their displeasure at these unreasonable increases.
Former Minister of Finance, Mr. Winston D. Jordan, has on numerous occasions reminded citizens that the Coalition never increased taxes but instead lowered taxes, widened the tax base, increased compliance, improved administration, and closed loopholes to tax evasion. Additionally, if one is to review the budget speeches, specifically budget 2017, presented by Former Minister of Finance, Mr. Jordan, they will observe that many of the measures did not attract new taxes, rather adjustments were made to a few existing taxes which had not been adjusted in over 20years. I do recall Mr. Jordan challenged Mr. Bharrat Jagdeo in the National Assembly, in 2018, to produce the evidence of the “200 New Taxes” imposed by the Coalition Government. To date, the public is still waiting for him to provide the evidence.
When Guyana was hit with its first COVID-19 case in March 2020, several taxes and fees were adjusted downwards, including tax on domestic travel. The PPP/C is now claiming ownership of this initiative.
Editor, there is the common saying, “some lies seem to be told in order to make the pathological liar appear the hero, or to gain acceptance or sympathy, while there’s seemingly nothing to be gained from other lies.” This quote can be attributed to the PPP/C.
I end by encouraging Guyanese to indulge in critical thinking in the new year. Fact check every statement made by the PPP/C and not fall for the campaign propaganda and glaring omissions of truth.
Member of Parliament