Categorized | Local, Man from Baker Hill, News

TAXATION: A talk to Governor Davis

by Man from Baker Hill

Montserratians, more often than not, see each other as pieces of shit! Some of us even find it extremely painful to consider that here on Montserrat there are bearers of knowledge or to respect the contribution that these persons can make. They would prefer to accept the advice of a goat from the uninhabited island of Redonda than to listen to another Montserratian. This fact was made very clear to me last week

A nicely aggressive Montserratian civil servant said to me.

“Allen, allin what do you know about taxation….you are just an insurance man; I will arrange for the consultant to advise you”. Yes! Last week wan seavil survunt tel me… “MFBH, you’re jest an insurence man, I’m… I’m going to erraange for the cunseltent from Redonda to explain the Montserrat Tex cistem to you.”Man, a had was to use dee real ‘expletive’ wurd pan she; an den arse she foo delete um. Profanity! Yea, me jest wanted to get um arf ma chest … and into the TMR.

Of course,

I am an insurance man; but insurance is also about financial planning. And if I advise on financial planning, I must be versed on investments and annuities; and especially taxation. Surely, the records will show that over the past 20 years I have published over twenty articles on taxation and pensions.

I am still angry. And you know what? I will continue to write in this angry tone of voice. But this time I will go to the top. I will go straight to Prime Minister David Cameron. I shall open a conversation to Governor Davis … on TAXATION.

Governor Davis, thank you for sharing life and time with Montserrat! As you are aware, I am never invited to you press conferences, so let me talk to you before you depart Montserrat. We all know that you came here with grandiose plans and promises. By the way, my expertise is taxation and therefore, my talk to you will be on this subject. Please sit down Governor … and relax; you are going to be okay.

Governor Davis, you are aware that Taxation is the PRICE TO LIVE ON MONTSERRAT and that fair Taxation is the PATHWAY TO NATIONAL PROSPERITY.  Now do tell me. What have you achieved in the most important area of taxation? Mm…since you have arrived, there have been so much non- compliance in the tax system. What a mess with the tax write-offs and tax forgiveness. What will you tell your Prime Minister David Cameron about the way British tax-payers money is spent on Montserrat? Every year since you have been here, nearly $10 million dollars have been paid to politicians and retired civil servants in pension benefits. And not one dollar had been contributed by these pensioners and not one dollar had been deducted as taxes. This means that by the time David Cameron completes his new 5 year term in office, the pensioners of Montserrat will have received another $50 million dollars of British taxpayers money… non-contributory and tax freeeeee.

Governor Davis, speak up! What will you tell the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom about the state of tax knowledge and understanding on Montserrat? Can you say that Montserrations understand the purposes of taxation? Can point out one student in the school system who can write a short sentence on DIRECT TAX, INDIRECT TAX, THE SYSTEM OF TAX LAWS, TAX COLLECTION, TAXABLE INCOME, PROPERTY TAX, COMPANY TAX OR INCOME TAX? Is there anything you will do to improve this situation?

Governor Davis will you explain to Prime Minister David Cameron why so many S R & O’s were approved by the Cabinet and passed into Law during your time here? Please if you can, explain to him how you sat with the Ministers of Government and grinned while they forgave Fly Montserrat all the income tax it owed and waived income tax on Fly Montserrat for another 5 years.

Will you tell the British Government that the civil servants bear the brunt of the tax burden in Montserrat? Do you realize, Governor, that they pay direct tax through salary deductions and again indirect tax through their purchases of goods and services from merchants and professionals?

Mm…, Governor Davies, are you bold enough to tell Her Majesty’s Government that you failed in the area of Tax administration? The civil servants pay a burdensome tax on their income; but the professionals do not pay any tax on theirs. The contractors do not pay! The lawyers do not pay. The doctors do not pay; the architects do not pay; the bar owners and shop-keepers do not pay. The merchants collect the tax in their sale prices but they too do not report all their profit; so more than 50% of our taxes collected by the merchants are retained by them. Governor, do you recognize the categories of persons who were forgiven their income taxes or who received 100% tax write-offs?

Governor, I understand that you brought an Income tax advisor to Montserrat. Have you sent him out on the trail? Did he walk Wall to Wall with the truckers and the sand mining operators? Mm…!

Every day I see Montserrat’s pseudo trillionaire walking the trails from Brades to nowhere. He poses as a crime fighter, disguised as a flutist and a fife-man; Edgar, Edgar is his name. Governor Davis, has anyone from the Inland Revenue Department checked this guy’s income status? Do they have a file on him? He must have patents on his ‘fifes’. And patents means income. I hope that the tax man has informed him that as a resident of Montserrat he has to declare his world wide income to the Inland Revenue. We must not let him get away.

And Governor Davis, did you notice that not one politician mentioned the word TAXATION during the 2014 political campaign? Yet the first major act in the new Legislative Assembly was the passing of nearly 100 SR&O’s to waive custom duties, our major source of taxes. By the way, did you report that anomaly to the UK government? Well… if you have not, you had better begin to consider an amendment to your handover report.

Tell Prime Minister David Cameron to repeal the Montserrat Income Tax Act and to impose a new system of tax laws comparable to that which is in use in the UK. Tell him how our governments have suspended the inclusion of tax on investment income. Let the UK government introduce inheritance Taxes to Montserrat; but give a three year moratorium for persons to transfer their properties to their children.

Tell Prime Minister Cameron to put real teeth in the Regulations so that the Controller could send Tax inspectors into the bars, corner shops, bread shops, supermarkets, contractors’ offices, and into the offices of professionals and the self employed. Tell the Prime Minister to ensure that the new Tax Regulations have real gold teeth in it, so that residents can go to jail for non-payment of income taxes.

Tell the UK Prime Minister about an awkward people called Montserrations who gave a license to refugees to operate the most lucrative service business, the supermarket business. Tell him that the refugees never before paid income or property taxes on Montserrat; yet the Legislative Assembly granted them the power to collect and retain, never to handover to the Treasury, millions of dollars of indirect tax hidden in their mark-up on the cost of purchases.

Governor, taxation is essential to every nation; it is the unwritten social contract, whereby each resident agrees to give back to the nation a portion of that which he received from the economic space of that nation.

Do you know that the tax rates could be cut in half if the persons who earn the most from the economic space contribute their fair tax share? On Montserrat there exists a very peculiar attitude to taxation that hinges on ignorance. But just as courtesy is the price for sharing the air with fellow human beings… so too is the payment of fair taxation; it is the very small price for enjoying the space of Montserrat.

Thank you for reading… my talk.

Governor Davis, Montserrat will miss you and Mrs. Davis. You and especially Mrs. Davis embraced Montserrat and Montserrations. Thank you, thank you!

 

 

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A Moment with the Registrar of Lands

by Man from Baker Hill

Montserratians, more often than not, see each other as pieces of shit! Some of us even find it extremely painful to consider that here on Montserrat there are bearers of knowledge or to respect the contribution that these persons can make. They would prefer to accept the advice of a goat from the uninhabited island of Redonda than to listen to another Montserratian. This fact was made very clear to me last week

A nicely aggressive Montserratian civil servant said to me.

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“Allen, allin what do you know about taxation….you are just an insurance man; I will arrange for the consultant to advise you”. Yes! Last week wan seavil survunt tel me… “MFBH, you’re jest an insurence man, I’m… I’m going to erraange for the cunseltent from Redonda to explain the Montserrat Tex cistem to you.”Man, a had was to use dee real ‘expletive’ wurd pan she; an den arse she foo delete um. Profanity! Yea, me jest wanted to get um arf ma chest … and into the TMR.

Of course,

I am an insurance man; but insurance is also about financial planning. And if I advise on financial planning, I must be versed on investments and annuities; and especially taxation. Surely, the records will show that over the past 20 years I have published over twenty articles on taxation and pensions.

I am still angry. And you know what? I will continue to write in this angry tone of voice. But this time I will go to the top. I will go straight to Prime Minister David Cameron. I shall open a conversation to Governor Davis … on TAXATION.

Governor Davis, thank you for sharing life and time with Montserrat! As you are aware, I am never invited to you press conferences, so let me talk to you before you depart Montserrat. We all know that you came here with grandiose plans and promises. By the way, my expertise is taxation and therefore, my talk to you will be on this subject. Please sit down Governor … and relax; you are going to be okay.

Governor Davis, you are aware that Taxation is the PRICE TO LIVE ON MONTSERRAT and that fair Taxation is the PATHWAY TO NATIONAL PROSPERITY.  Now do tell me. What have you achieved in the most important area of taxation? Mm…since you have arrived, there have been so much non- compliance in the tax system. What a mess with the tax write-offs and tax forgiveness. What will you tell your Prime Minister David Cameron about the way British tax-payers money is spent on Montserrat? Every year since you have been here, nearly $10 million dollars have been paid to politicians and retired civil servants in pension benefits. And not one dollar had been contributed by these pensioners and not one dollar had been deducted as taxes. This means that by the time David Cameron completes his new 5 year term in office, the pensioners of Montserrat will have received another $50 million dollars of British taxpayers money… non-contributory and tax freeeeee.

Governor Davis, speak up! What will you tell the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom about the state of tax knowledge and understanding on Montserrat? Can you say that Montserrations understand the purposes of taxation? Can point out one student in the school system who can write a short sentence on DIRECT TAX, INDIRECT TAX, THE SYSTEM OF TAX LAWS, TAX COLLECTION, TAXABLE INCOME, PROPERTY TAX, COMPANY TAX OR INCOME TAX? Is there anything you will do to improve this situation?

Governor Davis will you explain to Prime Minister David Cameron why so many S R & O’s were approved by the Cabinet and passed into Law during your time here? Please if you can, explain to him how you sat with the Ministers of Government and grinned while they forgave Fly Montserrat all the income tax it owed and waived income tax on Fly Montserrat for another 5 years.

Will you tell the British Government that the civil servants bear the brunt of the tax burden in Montserrat? Do you realize, Governor, that they pay direct tax through salary deductions and again indirect tax through their purchases of goods and services from merchants and professionals?

Mm…, Governor Davies, are you bold enough to tell Her Majesty’s Government that you failed in the area of Tax administration? The civil servants pay a burdensome tax on their income; but the professionals do not pay any tax on theirs. The contractors do not pay! The lawyers do not pay. The doctors do not pay; the architects do not pay; the bar owners and shop-keepers do not pay. The merchants collect the tax in their sale prices but they too do not report all their profit; so more than 50% of our taxes collected by the merchants are retained by them. Governor, do you recognize the categories of persons who were forgiven their income taxes or who received 100% tax write-offs?

Governor, I understand that you brought an Income tax advisor to Montserrat. Have you sent him out on the trail? Did he walk Wall to Wall with the truckers and the sand mining operators? Mm…!

Every day I see Montserrat’s pseudo trillionaire walking the trails from Brades to nowhere. He poses as a crime fighter, disguised as a flutist and a fife-man; Edgar, Edgar is his name. Governor Davis, has anyone from the Inland Revenue Department checked this guy’s income status? Do they have a file on him? He must have patents on his ‘fifes’. And patents means income. I hope that the tax man has informed him that as a resident of Montserrat he has to declare his world wide income to the Inland Revenue. We must not let him get away.

And Governor Davis, did you notice that not one politician mentioned the word TAXATION during the 2014 political campaign? Yet the first major act in the new Legislative Assembly was the passing of nearly 100 SR&O’s to waive custom duties, our major source of taxes. By the way, did you report that anomaly to the UK government? Well… if you have not, you had better begin to consider an amendment to your handover report.

Tell Prime Minister David Cameron to repeal the Montserrat Income Tax Act and to impose a new system of tax laws comparable to that which is in use in the UK. Tell him how our governments have suspended the inclusion of tax on investment income. Let the UK government introduce inheritance Taxes to Montserrat; but give a three year moratorium for persons to transfer their properties to their children.

Tell Prime Minister Cameron to put real teeth in the Regulations so that the Controller could send Tax inspectors into the bars, corner shops, bread shops, supermarkets, contractors’ offices, and into the offices of professionals and the self employed. Tell the Prime Minister to ensure that the new Tax Regulations have real gold teeth in it, so that residents can go to jail for non-payment of income taxes.

Tell the UK Prime Minister about an awkward people called Montserrations who gave a license to refugees to operate the most lucrative service business, the supermarket business. Tell him that the refugees never before paid income or property taxes on Montserrat; yet the Legislative Assembly granted them the power to collect and retain, never to handover to the Treasury, millions of dollars of indirect tax hidden in their mark-up on the cost of purchases.

Governor, taxation is essential to every nation; it is the unwritten social contract, whereby each resident agrees to give back to the nation a portion of that which he received from the economic space of that nation.

Do you know that the tax rates could be cut in half if the persons who earn the most from the economic space contribute their fair tax share? On Montserrat there exists a very peculiar attitude to taxation that hinges on ignorance. But just as courtesy is the price for sharing the air with fellow human beings… so too is the payment of fair taxation; it is the very small price for enjoying the space of Montserrat.

Thank you for reading… my talk.

Governor Davis, Montserrat will miss you and Mrs. Davis. You and especially Mrs. Davis embraced Montserrat and Montserrations. Thank you, thank you!