It’s no secret our economy’s on the rocks. Even President Granger – who’d be the last person to badmouth the economy while he’s in charge – admitted the “six sisters” – sugar, rice, bauxite, gold, diamond and forestry – show signs of “anaemia”. And we know he’s putting the best face to what’s going down. Now with all the pungent criticisms they’d made while in Opposition about the PPP’s handling of the economy, you’d think the Government would give their right arm to create SOME bright spot on the economic front, won’t you?
Well…you’ve just gone and wasted a thought, Dear Reader. In fact, in the area of manufacturing – which hadn’t contracted anaemia as yet – they’ve just gone and sucked out the blood from one sector that’s sure to lead to the same result. Lassitude and slow death. Your Eyewitness is talking about the new Government’s high taxes on alcohol.
Now we all know about what alcohol can do to people in general – and us in Guyana in particular. So none of us complain when the Government taxes alcohol way above that they slap on other items. Along with cigarettes, such taxes are called “sin taxes” to signal how folks look at the item being penalised. The theory is the Government’s killing two birds with one stone: collecting higher revenues while discouraging alcohol consumption through the higher prices.
Your Eyewitness has his doubts about the last premise – that the demand for alcohol is “elastic”. Meaning folks will cut down their drinking when the prices are raised – ain’t gonna happen. Lushes gotta have their high! So strike one for the taxman. The problem is not all alcohol is of the “sin” type. A whole lotta alcohol have very positive uses. Did you know there’s alcohol in most cough syrups? In many other medicines! In your mouthwash? In your splash-on for that “tingly” after-shave feeling? It’s all because alcohol’s a better solvent than water for the medicine and other substances that’re good for you.
This kind of alcohol’s called “neutral spirits” and is 96% pure alcohol…it’ll knock out an elephant!! Now while even the previous Government insisted on taxing the neutral spirits used for manufacturing the medicines etc…this administration didn’t just reject their pleas, but actually raised the taxes from 40% to 60%!! And wouldn’t listen to the pleas of the manufacturers.
The irony is the Government doesn’t tax neutral spirits coming in from TT – so it’s now cheaper to import! So it’s either shut down local manufacturing or import spirits.
Does this Government think it’s a “sin” to drink medicine? Or slap on aftershave?
Minister of Communities Bulkan complained of the PPP being “power drunk”. So what does he think of Georgetown’s Town Clerk, Royston King? Even since the Government changed, the letters pages’ve been filled by charges of one sort or another about Royston King throwing his weight around. And then some! But you gotta hand it to Royston – he’s an equal opportunity bully.
Pan African Monument at Merriman Mall demolished? Ask Royston why – and also who benefited? Rural vendors thrown out of their expansive spots on the said Mall and herded to huddle in microscopic cages? Ask Royston…and also who benefited? The litany of Royston’s excesses would be longer than “War and Peace” if put down on paper.
So how does this guy get away with it? Isn’t there a new regime in Local Government to get rid of fellas like Royston? Well, Bulkan’s kept the status quo – read Royston King – by not constituting a Local Government Commission.
The more things change…
After a hiatus, did you check out the mug shots of those convicted of “Driving Under the Influence”? DUI? Nothing’s changed, has it? Still all Berbicians. It is only Berbicians who drink and drive?
Turns out only info from Berbice’s collected and sent to the media!
What say you, Berbician Ramjattan?