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Sep 2, 2019

Senators Debate Land Tax, Partial Remission of Areas, Bill 2019

Osmany Salas

The government’s Land Tax, Partial Remission of Areas, Bill 2019 has raised many eyebrows across the country. The bill was ratified by the Senate on Friday, and essentially it is a land amnesty programme for land taxes. The Barrow administration has written millions of millions of back taxes owed to the government. The concerning factor here is the list of people who are benefitting comprising mostly of wealthy and big landowners. On Friday, Senators weighed in on the legislation.

 

Osmany Salas, Senator for NGOs

“Things seem to be in a really bad state as Lands which makes me wonder, why have we not tried to fix this land tax system over the last eleven years. I agree with the Minister of Lands when he said at the previous House meeting that government can and will try to acquire land in lieu of taxes. Section thirty eight and thirty nine of the Land Tax Act provides for that.”

 

 

Elena Smith, Senator for Unions

Elena Smith

“Against like my colleague mentioned, the law provides for re-acquisition of land if taxes are not paid. And so if they are wondering why is this is not being done so at least these land can be redistributed to those who really need, first time land owners. A lot of persons, like our teachers, police officers, soldiers, nurses, these are persons who really and truly would want to and need to have a piece of land and they don’t have.”

 

Michael Peyrefitt

Michael Peyrefitte, UDP Senator

“We can sue for the taxes owed. How long you think it would take. You got to court. You win a judgment. You try and collect the money. The persons appeal. You go all the way to the court. It can take you from now to thy kingdom come to actually get paid. So what you do is that you make a deal with the people for a shortened period of time. This is not strange, man.”

 

Michel Chebat, PUP Senator

Michel Chebat

“He is the Attorney General. He seems to have no faith in the judicial system and that causes me some great concern. I don’t understand how it will be easier in the same system to collect either a hundred percent or seventy five percent. There is no logic in that Mr. President. Perhaps Senator Salas was not able to get the list but I got the list. The list deals with people for example who own seventy six thousand acres of land who owe the government of people ten million dollars in taxes. You are talking about people who own forty five thousand acres of land and who owe the government six million dollars in taxes. You are talking about people who own seven thousand acres of land Mr AG and they owe two million dollars n taxes. You are talking about people who own two thousand, one hundred and eighty acres and they owe two million five hundred dollar in taxes. And so Mr. AG not only is your analogy wrong but this legislation is discriminatory because it is aimed at big land owners. There are not small land owners in this country that can benefit from this.”


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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