June 25, 2017

Killing the goose…

…in Georgetown

While the sentiment, “death and taxes are certain” has been expressed for quite a while, it seems the powers-that-be in Guyana are hell-bent on amending it to “death THROUGH taxes” as the lot of Guyanese. Hot on the heels of the US$2.50/hour parking fees imposed (in Queens and Brooklyn our relatives earning TEN times our salaries pay US.75 CENTS/hour!) comes news that City Hall has hiked property rates by 10 per cent. Oi vey!!
But that’s not all. This is only at the City Level. Don’t forget your friendly Central Government has insisted on extending VAT to electricity and water – and a host of essentials through the subterfuge juggling “zero-rated” and “exempt”! For those city slickers who enjoy their AC’s to escape the muggy heat of their concrete jungle and watering their lawns to enjoy their ambiance, they’ll discover their dollar needs to be stretched way beyond what even their ‘plastic’ will allow.
But it’s not only the residents of Georgetown who’re facing the Grim Reaper: for business owners, their prognosis is even grimmer! While the average homeowner hasn’t really been hit by the parking meters – but the expansion to their environs has been promised! – the businessmen in the City’s commercial downtown area have had their trade cut in half by the falloff in the traffic, occasioned by the bandits cleverly camouflaged as “parking meters”. The pickpocket trade has also taken a hit – but they’ve resorted to jumping on their CG motor bikes to seek other marks. Have you seen the uptick in that activity?
Now your Eyewitness understands governments – local and national – need revenues. But the collection of those revenues isn’t an end in itself, nor are they supposed to end up in the pockets of government officials. They’re supposed to be spent to provide services for the good citizens. When, like in the Scandinavian countries, those services are fully provided and folks can live in dignity, they don’t mind parting with huge chunks of their income.
But when, as in Guyana, one still can’t get electricity without daily blackouts, or garbage that’s collected on someone’s whim (the ‘whim” being when the City decides to pay the garbage men!) these taxes aren’t only onerous, but odious. And folks will do what any reasonable animal above the phylum invertebrata will do – avoid the taxes by all means necessary.
But in the meantime, that game of avoiding the taxman just adds to the stress of living in Guyana – and one ends up with high blood pressure, road rage, domestic violence, kicking the dog, eating too much junk food.
And dying to avoid taxes!
…on capital?
Some predictions can become self-fulfilling – especially when the persons making the predictions have skin in the game. For weeks, businessmen have been complaining of a foreign currency shortage – read US greenbacks. After stoutly denying this, the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Guyana have been forced to explain why the exchange rate shot up from $205 to $216 GY to $1 US in the last week! The reason proffered is one “non-Guyanese” cambio sent out US$100 million to its mother country and other Guyanese might be hoarding greenbacks or shipping it offshore!
Now, by refusing to name the recalcitrant cambio, are the Government officials in damage control mode suggesting – like that fella from Harry Potter – if the name’s said aloud, evil will descend upon our heads and the land? And that the cambio and all those parking their US funds offshore, are by definition also “evil”?
That’s sad. Cause, in a financial system that’s been completely liberalised, “capital flight” is par for the course… When the financial sector feels the economy’s tanking!
Government… heal thyself!!
…and humanity
Your Eyewitness thought our humanity was proven by our willingness to “be our brothers’ keeper”. No more. Today, having to sign in to a paid site, he was asked to “prove his humanity” by solving 1+9=?.
Numeracy makes us human?