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Fnm Chairman Defends Vat Increase

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FNM chairman Carl Culmer.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

FREE National Movement Chairman Carl Culmer said his party will not be moved by the possibility of a political alliance between web shops and the Progressive Liberal Party.

Mr Culmer stressed opposition to the government’s 2018/19 budget was largely fueled by groups seeking to capitalize on the emotional public response to the shock increase in VAT.

He said he fully expected his party will be returned to office at the end of this term.

Mr Culmer said: “When you really look at it, these number guys will never lose, and what they’re trying to do is rally on the 12 percent (VAT) to use that along with their greed to succeed in getting their point across.

“But when you look at the 12 percent and all the other customs duties that are coming down it’s gonna balance out.

“We in this country have been used to everything being handed to us,” he continued, “not from a political point but in order to build a country we all need to contribute. So far the middle class has been carrying a lot of the burden, the thing is we need to understand is the government’s intention to reduce high cost of living to not just middle class but the most unfortunate among us.

“The intent with the 12 percent is, might as well bite the bullet,” he said.

Mr Culmer spoke to The Tribune about the strong public backlash to the proposed increases ahead of Thursday’s ‘Keep Ya Corned Beef’ March.

Hundreds of protesters gathered on Parliament Square to protest the proposed 60 percent increase in value added tax and a new sliding scale tax on web shops.

Mr Culmer said: “They’re playing on the emotions of the Bahamian people. I expect the numbers folks to spend big money to get their message across. I suspect they will pay people to come out to protest, they’re good at marketing.

“So we all gotta come to grips and say what is best for the country, do we want to continue to go down the road paying deficits or to get our bills current and get country moving in the right direction.”

Seeking to make a clear separation between the campaign tactics of the two major political parties, Mr Culmer claimed the Free National Movement would never seek to exploit the emotions of the public.

Mr Culmer said: “We are trying to educate the people, the FNM never takes advantage of the masses. Our job as the government is to be responsible, to educate persons why things are happening and to ensure we understand. The PLP for years they drive on emotions, if you notice there is no industrial unrest during the PLP administration. The first thing, it’s because the PLP uses our workers at their will and pleasure. It must stop.

“I believe at the end of the day Bahamians are going to see the benefits that the FNM is attempting to do,” he continued, “I believe the FNM will be the government again, the country is moving in the right direction.”

The FNM has been raked in recent months for “eating its words” on major issues it admonished the former Christie administration over, most notably, Baha Mar, the Spy Bill, and the introduction of VAT.

Court of Appeal President Dame Joan Sawyer told The Tribune last month she was shocked at how much the Minnis administration has “come around” on several policies and strategies it criticised while in opposition.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

I would rather hear Carl Culmer try explain how is it Duane Sands personally awarded a $1.9 million hospital cleaning contract to Barbara Hanna's Magic Touch cleaning company less than 3 months after criminal charges were brought against Frank Smith, the disgraced former chairman of the Public Hospital Authority (PHA)??!!!!

The legal advisor and secretary to the current board of the PHA testified in open court that Sands personally approved the $1.9 million contract without any notification to or input whatsoever from the PHA board. In doing so, Sands failed to adhere to the well established written guidelines and rules for the review and approval of such a large contract. He completely bypassed both the PHA board and cabinet in personally approving the cleaning contract with a company whose owner he knew full well (at the time Sands approved the contract) was alleging to have bribed Frank Smith to secure a cleaning contract. THE GRAVITY OF THIS MISCONDUCT ON THE PART OF SANDS IS SUCH THAT MINNIS AND THE OTHER CABINET MINISTERS SHOULD BE INSISTING ON HIS IMMEDIATE RESIGNATION FROM CABINET. FRANK SMITH IS UNDOUBTEDLY NOW GOING TO BE CLEARED AND WALK FREE BECAUSE OF THE VERY GRAVE MISCONDUCT OF SANDS. IF MINNIS TOLERATES THIS TYPE OF SERIOUS WRONGFUL BEHAVIOUR FROM A FELLOW MINISTER WITH NO CONSEQUENCE WHATSOEVER, THEN HE WILL TOLERATE ANY AND EVERY KIND OF WRONGFUL BEHAVIOUR BY HIMSELF AND ALL OTHER CABINET MINISTERS!!!!

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Truism 1 year, 8 months ago

I thought the chairman would explain why industrial washers are now duty free since the minister of Finance only told us that they want to establish an air registry. Maybe we're gonna be the first in the region to establish an industrial washing machine registry.

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BahamasForBahamians 1 year, 8 months ago

This guy is a total retard who makes an ass of himself every time he opens his mouth to the media. The FNM must replace him immediately. He's the worst chairman the party's ever had and Sidney Collie did not leave big shoes to fill.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 8 months ago

What a foolish man. Out of his mouth comes foolishness and lies. Can some one tell him that the FNM Government will destroy the middle class. They will also suffer from this 60% increase. it will affect churches charity organizations, All with knowledge says it is wrong. But doc and Culmer the Dumber and the dumbest can not see or understand. Add Turnquest to that. he should hurry and buy his duty free planes.

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Ma trusted comrade sources on other side pond have it that the Queen is not pleased with chairman red shirts party.... that her Majesty understands protocol being seen be getting on governing politicians but is puzzled as to why hasn't her governor general on scene, not royally acted against governing Imperial red shirts?

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