Georgetown: City Council Taxes Arrears is a massive problem – By Freddie Kissoon

City Council taxes: This nation is a cemetery

The more you live here you more you find this country obnoxious and surreal. The more you live here, the more the existence of this society torments your mind and you want to know if in the international community of nations, we are not the number one country for having no logical reason to exist.

Civilized society remains civilized because it is run by the rule of law. When humans disregard the rule of law and they do so with impunity, you no longer have law and order and breakdown is inevitable.

In every country, the rule of law stands between beastly descent and modern life. This pattern does not seem to exist in Guyana. I predict early collapse of this society if fragility of the rule of law gets worse.   

The law says you have to pay taxes. The GRA, as I write this column, is warning rum-shop entitles that they must be licensed. The law says you cannot drive a car without a road fitness certificate. The law says you cannot sell liquor to an underage child. The law says that you cannot have sex with an underage child.

The law says that you must have permission to establish a business. The law says that you cannot be a food vendor if you do not have a health certificate. The law says that you must declare if you have more than $10,000 American dollars on leaving Guyana.

The law says that you cannot have a bar open after 2 AM. The law says possession of any amount of ganja is an offence. The law says you have to produce compliance document from the GRA to have approval to sell your assets.

I could fill hundreds of columns with what is required by the law. Violations of the laws of Guyana could land you before the courts. The law also states that citizens are legally bound to pay the municipal government of the capital city, rates and taxes. It simply boggles the mind to find out that over 140 business entities have not paid rates and taxes for over a long period. The City Council says the outstanding debt is $8 billion.

If you deny that such a situation is not an example of nihilism in a modern country then you are a complete idiot. It simply means that such a country has broken down. How can any judge grant even a moment’s hearing to a business taken before the courts for non-payment of rates and taxes for over a ten-year period?

Surely no such judge should be part of a modern judiciary.

How does one explain the City Council being owed billions of dollars by people who have been violating the law for over ten years? Why then should city folks in the lower income group pay rates and taxes? Can you violate the law by not paying GRA for over ten years and GRA does nothing?

What happens to you when the traffic cop stops you and finds your insurance expired ten years ago? Does the rank walk away? Does he charge you? What happens when you apply for a passport and your birth certificate is a fake? Did you break the law? And if you did, will the immigration people charge you?

I could go on to give examples but my point is how can someone break the law as in the examples I have given and not face the consequences?

So how could a business place not pay rates and taxes for over ten years and not face the consequences? That does not happen in the real world. It means that either the information offered by the Mayor is fictional or something bizarre is at work here.

It is not fictional because five years ago the City Council made the same disclosure and made the identical statement two years ago.

It means we have a surreal situation in Guyana. But this is Guyana of course. There has been an interesting intervention by the Chamber of Commerce. It has suggested to the Mayor that he publish the names of the defaulters. Why would the Mayor not do so?

If you have a business place and not pay taxes for a number of years why should the City Council not publish your name?

In fact the NIS does just that. They put the names in the newspapers of those who are in arrears. Why is the City Council not doing so? I close with my mind in total confusion. How could a property owner not pay rates and taxes for ten years and the City Council does nothing about it? But don’t forget; this is Guyana.

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