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Jul 19, 2011

Neon Plastics Cathy Barothy speaks about detention and not paying GST

Catherine Barothy

Well-known Belizean entrepreneur Cathy Barothy is among a list of thirteen business owners who the GST Department singled out for over eleven million dollars in unpaid sales taxes.  Last Tuesday a team of GST personnel accompanied by a police officer visited Neon Plastics Ltd. in Belize City where they insisted that Barothy pay an outstanding balance of forty-one thousand dollars.  When she told them that an agreement had already been made to pay the arrears in installments, the GST officer insisted that five thousand dollars of the total amount be paid upfront to avoid further action.  That arrangement however, was subsequently quashed and Barothy was escorted to the Queen Street Police Station where, according to her, she was subjected to utter humiliation at the hands of the arresting officers who then placed her on a prison bus en route to the Hattieville Prison.  Barothy has since posted a detailed explanation of what transpired a week ago on her company’s website and News Five has obtained excerpts of that ordeal.

Catherine Barothy, Owner, Neon Plastics Ltd.

“On Tuesday the twelfth of July at 3:30 p.m. our office on Coney Drive in Belize City was visited by two representatives from the General Sales Tax Unit accompanied by a police constable.  I was demanded to immediately pay in Belize dollars forty-one thousand otherwise I would be arrested.  I explained I was aware of the money owed but that I was under an agreed payment plan.  Please note that we are current with the GST taxes, the amount in question is an old balance primarily made up of interest.  I was told that yes a payment plan was in place but that I did not make any payments.  I told them they were wrong and had receipts and could prove the same.  One of the tax officers stated that if I made a payment of five thousand dollars there would be no need to proceed.  This would have brought all pending payments current. I was then told ‘noh worry misses there are other business owners already picked up who are a part of the same sweep and everyone will need to go see the magistrate.  Complying with the law I went with the tax officers in their blue-plated government tax vehicle.  Instead of being driven to the Magistrates Court however, I was instead taken to the Queen Street Police Station.  I was taken inside and again ordered to pay up forty-one thousand [dollars].  I told the officer to please understand [that] I truly do not have the same.  I looked around for the tax officers and they were gone.  At that point I recognized [that] I had been handed over to the police instead of being taken to the Magistrates Court.   I had my cell phone under my blouse but was afraid it would be taken away.  I quietly sent off a text stating where I was.  Approximately five minutes later I was being escorted through a dingy side corridor and herded into a prison bus filled with all male prisoners and security guards.  Many prisoners were in chains.  There were no other women or businesspersons anywhere. We ended the tour with an intense horn blowing on Regent Street between Brodies and the old Central Bank Building.  I was escorted into the courthouse and again told to go into a cell.  A senior officer intervened and told me to stand against the wall.  After five minutes of waiting I was finally taken in front of a magistrate.  The tax officers were again present.  The magistrate, an intelligent, fair but stern woman reviewed the details and ordered the prison bus to leave.  She firmly stated that the balances owed to the Government of Belize need to be paid and proceeded to structure the same as per the amount so definitively stated on the local news.”

Among other businesses that owe significant sums of money in GST is Service One Cleaner which is in the red to the tune of a hundred thousand dollars.  On Tuesday of last week fifty-seven thousand dollars of that debt was defrayed by its owners.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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26 Responses for “Neon Plastics Cathy Barothy speaks about detention and not paying GST”

  1. I Have Awaken says:

    What a bunch of croc $#!%! This Government is broke as a joke and grasping at straws, yes people should pay taxes, but I don’t think anyone should pay taxes in this country, because every single Government use the money to do a bunch of stupid crap and enrich themselves. These folks are being made examples off; this is all a systematic fear factor to to show Belizeans that if they mess around they will be thought a lesson, on all levels of economic status, except for the the tip of the upper echelon.

  2. Ricky Malthus says:

    Is this General sales Tax (GST) really a just and rational tax or is it a tax on taxes paid already through the Customs and Excise department? All GST does is to cause inflation and an opportunity for abuse by vendors. It is time to get rid of it because it is an unjust tax to increase government revenues and to fund civil service jobs. The duties of the civil servants who detained Ms Barothy are stupid duties. These servants should find, if they can,meaningful jobs. Government cannot keep hiring everyone . Where are the Belizean entrepreneurs?

  3. Rod says:

    Revolution is in the air how about all the customs agents who were getting paid big money why are they not in jail is it because the top people in this crime are top level gov. People like perdomo and barrow they need to be put in jail why did the gov. Of Belize use the gov. To co sign for the over a million dollars doctor bill of rod well Williams this was done by barrow using the people of Belize money to pay for this man doctor bills while the rest of you fools die in the Belize hospitals when shot wake up belizeans wake up.

  4. REGGIE says:

    CATHY YOU ARE VERY UPSET ,BUT GUESS WHAT YOU ARE TO BE BLAME.HOW MANY YEARY DID YOU COLLECT THE MONEY?GST IS THE POOR PEOPLE MONEY YOU PLAYING WITH.WHEN THE COUNCIL COUN’T PAY THE WORKERS DID YOU STOP AND SAY I NEED TO GO AND PAY THE TAXES I COLLECT.NO.AND YOU SEE HOW MANY PEOPLE WAS HURTING.NOW IT IS UR TURN AND U WANT US TO BE SORRY FOR YOU.THINK AGAIN.AND I HOPE THE GST OFFICER GO AFTER EVERYONE WHO OWE MONEY DON’T STOP HERE. INCOME TAX SHOULD START THE SAME THING AS WELL.WHEN THE POOR CAN’T PAY LIGHT BILL OR WATER BILL GUESS WHAT IN A FEWS DAY THE COMPANY TURN THEM OFF.BUT YOU GUYS CAN PLAY WITH THE TAXES FOR YEAR .N INVEST IT LIKE IT IS UR MONEY.

  5. gilbert says:

    none of this was necessary had u paid GST that u r collecting to for GOB, u r lucky that u did not end up at Kolby.

  6. Sugar says:

    what a sanctimoneous load of BULL….Miss lady, with all due respect, when i go buy at U business, do i get the option to pay for the product now and then pay U the GST later???? when a man steal a mango, they take him to court and call him THIEF….what makes U any different??…this goes for ALL that owe GST but…I also blame GST people…..why is it that poor people cannot owe but bigger bisinesses get “accomodation”??

  7. Elgin Martinez says:

    What did you expect VIP treatment?Tax evasion is a criminal act as a result you were treated as any other criminal.

  8. spanglish says:

    PAY UP WOMAN, PAY UP, MAYBE YOU JUST WANT TO LIVE A HIGH DRIVING AROUND THE LATEST MODEL VEHICLE AT THE EXPENSE OF OTHERS.

    COMMON KATHY PAY UP STOP PUT EXCUSES, BECAUSE REALLY NOBODY IS SORRY FOR YOU

  9. oscar965 says:

    I agree with Elgin…you got treated like a criminal cause you committed a criminal act. Let this be a lesson for all those who are reading and know they owe the government….you get to sympathy from me…i work hard and pay all my taxes so i can have the right to complain later on if i want to…

  10. Haterz On My Back says:

    this GST is a waste of time and GOB makes millions of it. I mean if you bring in a container with goods you will have to pay GST, you make your mark up and sell to stores again you will charge GST. Finally the stores still have to add up GST so that they show they are paying GST. As far as i know we pay GST 12.5% 3X and i dont even know if you have to pay GST when the container lands and all those other stupid fees we have to pay. GOB are morons and none intelligent. Its a shame that we belizeans dont defend our country & our rights the way other country’s do it.

  11. check it out says:

    How come HLs was not taken to prison for all the taxes owed!!!

  12. no one is above the law says:

    Dominique Strauss Kahn, President of IMF, was handcuffed and taken to Rikers Island..apply the law to UDPs and PUPs, rich and poor. last night a man was given 3 years for a 15 dollar deodorant he shoplifted…

  13. Charlie Price says:

    Someone has to be used as an example by GoB to make their point……..The rest will fall in line.

  14. Jeebo says:

    You make me sick Cathy. Let’s see:
    1.) You were under an agreed payment plan – but admit you didn’t pay the money?
    2.) An old balance – so now you don’t owe?
    3.) They asked for $5,000 ONLY – and you had a problem with that?
    4.) Other business people already picked up – well they paid the $5,000 that’s why you didn’t see them at the police station.
    5.) Complying with the law you went in their vehicle – and complying with the law and pay the GST to GOB in the first place miss hypocrite?
    6.) There were no other women or business people anywhere – degrading isn’t it? You’re the only one who let it come to this point.
    7.) After five minutes of waiting you were finally taken in front of a magistrate – damm you got VIP treatment there. I have been to court and had to wait up to 6 hours.
    Bottom line – you owe money, you have a payment plan already, you still didn’t pay, and you admit you didn’t pay – you’re awful to complain about this. Your business license should be revoked (if you paid for one) and your business should be sold to recover GOB’s money.

  15. Jeebo says:

    Sigh ….

  16. reatph says:

    My Belizean brothers and sisters pay attention. If you run a business it must be structured properly. The best structure for a business that is making a profit is a “C CORPORATION”. As a business person you must protect yourself and all of your assets.

    Peace.

  17. Roy Yates says:

    Lady, if this is money you collected from customers for government, you have no right to hold on to it, its theft; simple as that. Your own income tax is a different matter. I don’t particularly like taxes, but I understand the need for it. Be a responsible citizen any turn in the government’s tax revenue you collected. Once we brake the law we give up at least part of our rights. Reasonable law enforcement officer/s will treat you with civility, but if you happen to be dealing with one that is jelouse of what you have, this is his/her way of bringing you down to their level.

  18. belizeanpride says:

    pay up your bills madam and stop whinning like a kid everybody pay tax and for so long you owed and pretend to be or exp[ected to be treated like a person with dignity, sorry lady you lost your dignity first of all you are a thief and second a bad example as a business person who don’t pay tax ontime.

  19. Lysa says:

    I feel no pity for her as that was money which she collected on behalf of GOB. that is the customers who paid their GST as charged. When we go do business at your place, that GST has to be paid forthwith. Next time you will PAYC. Pay as you collect. Maybe if you sell that fancy vehicle, much can be paid off. You broke the law, now pay for the crime. sell the fancy vehicle. @Haterz on my bake. Sure we end up paying 3x much, that is why she should hand over the cheeze weh se done pay.

  20. Robert says:

    Everyone wants to bash cathy on this site about things they know nothing about, but when a comment gets posted about the way the government runs belize,it gets erased. This just shows how ignorant the people and the government of belize are. A few words before you leave your opinions and comments, get educated and know your facts.

  21. Earl Grey says:

    SHE SHOULD HAVE BEEN SENT A LETTER FIRST………….. THEN SET A MEETING for her 2 pay.

  22. John Boy,Carson,Ca says:

    Why would anyone open a buisness in Belize if that is the way you get treated.

  23. I Have Awaken says:

    Welcome to Belize, Belizeans, where drug dealers drive fancy cars, wear big gold chains and buy property here and there with their drug money, where murderers roam the street simply looking for someone to kill and when they find that someone, well they kill them and then use the same drug money to hire high powered lawyers like Dickie Bradley, slap the system upside the head and roam free again to cause havoc and chaos…meanwhile hard working Belizeans get robbed, murdered and then get locked up by their GOB like they are worse than the murderous, drug dealing criminals. Lovely country eh?

  24. louisville,ky says:

    John Boy, Carson Ca. What is so wrong with the way that so called business woman was treated? Do you live in the US? Then you must know about the payment of taxes.

  25. Open your eyes says:

    Belize consist mostly of uneducated idiots. It is ashamed how this country has changed for the worst. It is truly run by drug dealers, killers and crooked people in the government. Look around people, look at the city, the crime, the educational system, the government, the crooked leaders-you are not in paradise, but a third world country being run into the ground..

    The woman is one of the few smart individuals who has a light business and not one of the bad guys, yes fell behind on payments. An arrangement should have been made with her first. How many others owe allot more and were not subject to this type of behavior not even in the US would it be handled this way..

    But in a crooked country it would be – look around.

  26. Lynn Philips says:

    As stated above, a credit check could also be run…

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