Response to the dishonest statement on VAT made by Lillian Misick
By John Glasgow TCI Post
In asserting her authority to speak on issues surrounding the implementation of VAT, Lillian Misick the former Chair of the illegitimate Consultative Forum asserts that the fact that she was the Chair of the Forum at the time the VAT Law was passed, gives her standing to speak on matters relating to VAT.
I may be wrong but it appears that Lillian is implying that others who have spoken and are speaking about VAT have no legitimacy to speak on the issue. The truth is that, every Turks and Caicos Islander and every business owner have legitimacy to speak on the issue of VAT since it affects all of us. However being a member or Chair of the illegitimate Consultative Forum does not give Lillian any special expertise to speak on VAT.
Lillian went on to criticize the political parties especially the PNP for not working with the Consultative Forum.
I am amazed that an obviously intelligent woman refused to accept that political parties have the right to make policy decisions and to follow through on those decisions. The PNP position at the time was that Direction Rule was illegitimate and tantamount to the British using a sledge hammer to kill a fly. Therefore any creature of the illegal occupation/Direct rule also lacked legitimacy. Since the Consultative Forum was a creature of Direct Rule…the FCO and Governor. It followed that the PNP could not have accepted its legitimacy while vehemently opposed to the illegal occupation of the TCI.
I agreed with the PNP’s position at the time. The Consultative Forum was a trojan horse used by the British to legitimize Direct rule and to put a democratic and transparent face on 21st century colonialism and modern day slavery.
During the life of the Consultative Forum it became clear that the British attached no great weight nor had any respect for the Consultative Forum. It was a creature of convenience. Lillian herself is on record of lamenting the lack of authority of the Consultative Forum and the shabby way in which it was treated by the British and their cadre of misfits bureaucrats.
Therefore none of the political parties were under any obligation to negotiate or work with a Creature which came out of the wombs of colonialism and which lacked a democratic mandate to act for Turks and Caicos Islanders.
Lillian went on to assert that while the PNP is on record of opposing VAT from the outset, the PDM only opposed VAT weeks before the general elections. I am sure that this is not an accurate statement because the PDM did oppose the implementation of VAT very early in the VAT debate.
It is beyond me why Lillian Misick would outright lie on the PDM and misrepresent its position on VAT to the public!!!!
In her statement she asserts that there were wide consultation on VAT but made no mention of the outcome of the consultations. VAT was rejected by the majority of Turks and Caicos Islanders. Funny Lillian forgot to mention that….
She went on to say the following:
To be fair and, more importantly, to keep our people properly informed, it is imperative to bear these facts in mind when discussing, and reporting on, VAT.
That said, let me assert for the record that I believe VAT is the best system of taxation for the TCI. Moreover, nobody can deny that that our current system – with its exemptions and loopholes that favor the rich – imposes an unfair and unsustainable burden on poor and middle-class TCIslanders.
Readers, the above statement by Lillian shows that she does not understand the fundamentals of VAT neither does she understand the arguments put forward by the overwhelming majority of Turks and Caicos Islanders who oppose VAT.
I may be wrong and I pray that someone corrects me if I am but VAT is a Consumer Tax which affects the end user. Therefore its effects on the poor is more devastating than on the rich. A few exemptions on low end consumer goods cannot adequately mitigate the negative effects of VAT on the poor.
Another fundamental point missed by Lillian is that businesses at the end of the day will be able to reclaim their VAT expenses while the poor would not be able to do so.
Secondly if the Implementation of VAT is designed to deal with the loopholes in the current tax system which favours the rich….(Lillian words not mine). Then why not just enact legislation to close those loopholes and dispense with those exemptions favouring the rich?
The above statement by Lillian Misick in my opinion is an attempt to bolster the argument made my the CFO at the VAT consultation meeting in Providenciales where he accused business owners of opposing VAT because they wanted to use their business to fund their lifestyles.
Lillian Misick further accused the PNP of having no alternative to VAT. Did she missed that the Premier asked the FCO for a six months delay in the implementation of VAT while they consult as a government on the best tax system for the TCI. It is now a matter of public record that the Overseas Territories Minister Mark Simmonds refused to grant the Premier’s request.
It appears that the former Interim regime has no rational reason to implement VAT. Both the PNP and PDM opposed VAT, it appears that Lillian who is the governor’s appointed member in the House Of Assembly is the lone Voice in Parliament Supporting VAT.
Of course the Former interim regime has to save face and implement VAT in light of the Governor’s ill advised public statements, where he told the media that no elected government can prevent the implementation of VAT. Therefore this has a lot to do about ego and little to do about sound financial judgement.
Probably the following is the most puzzling statement from Lillian Misick:
”I note, for example, that finance minister Hon. Washington Misick has been quoted saying that VAT “is being forced down our throats” (CNN, 17 January 2013); whereas the uncontroverted facts delineated above make clear that nothing could be further from the truth”.
Did Lillian missed it that no one at the consultations and in the business community supported VAT?? The consultations were a farce. The fact that the former interim regime decided to press ahead with VAT in the face of overwhelming public opposition speaks for itself.
Washington Misick is absolutely right, VAT was forced down the throats of the people of the TCI.
I disagree with Lillian Misick that VAT is the best tax system out there and because everyone else is doing it we should implement it also. The former interim regime has not convinced anyone on this issue….
Lillian has added absolutely nothing to the debate on VAT. In fact by inserting herself in the VAT debate, it is possible that more people will oppose VAT.
Lillian went on to attack the PNP on its pro independence stance. This will be dealt with in another article. If Lillian was appointed as the former interim regime spokesperson on this issue. She has done nothing so far to advance the British case for the implementation of VAT. John Glasgow