Our Readers' Opinions
February 7, 2017
Private promoters robbing Government

Editor: I am a person who loves my country dearly. I have seen you achieve a lot of things that others said could not be done in SVG. I am looking in from the outside of Government circles and I am totally amazed at the number of hot criticisms often levelled at you for certain perceived shortcomings within our country.

I have heard, repeatedly, hot voices of some persons who tear into your flesh figuratively, as they position themselves on radio on a daily basis. They can easily get 97 per cent for identifying areas where monies need to be spent. They are also quick to identify crime and crime-related activities in our country, sometimes even with inaccurate information and unsubstantiated stories, all geared towards the uneducated and unpatriotic listenership.

As they often talk about crime, I would like to bring to your attention some criminal activities being carried out by some well-known, leading private promoters within our state.

I am of the view that there are no differences between a robber with a gun and a WHITE COLLAR robber with a pen and a cunning smile. Robbery is robbery, regardless of who gets robbed or the method used to execute such robbery.

Long ago certain employees of the Inland Revenue Department had the responsibility to go to night clubs and entertainment events to police the collection of Government revenue/ Entertainment tax. Now we have moved to a modern method called VAT. Under this system it appears that all the employees of the VAT Unit are assuming that they are dealing with honest promoters, who are expected to present their tickets to them for stamping and ultimate tax collection based on sales. This system has a major loophole. Private promoters have discovered that tickets which are printed as “COMPLIMENTARY” do not attract VAT. Large numbers of tickets are therefore printed as “Complimentary,” but are actually being sold, thereby robbing the state of much needed revenue. To make matters worse, a well established big company, which is often a sponsor of these events, has in the past accepted these tickets to be sold to their customers. I am hoping that their management will not allow this in 2017.

Further to that, early bird tickets or tickets at a lower price face value stamped on the tickets are often sold at a higher gate price on the night of the event, as they say “pay more at the door.”

I would like to note the following:

1. It is illegal to sell tickets above the price printed on the tickets. When this is done the promoters are robbing the state again of the Vat which should have been collected on the difference between the face value and the higher price actually paid by the customer. The public needs to know that they should not be paying MORE than the price printed on the tickets.

2. The regulation must state that on collection of tickets they must be deposited in a locked receptacle. They must only be removed with the presence of VAT Unit employees. Recycling of tickets also reduces the amount of revenue the Government collects.

3. I am suggesting that a public awareness drive must be done by the VAT Unit to bring these issues to the attention of the public, as some persons are simply not aware of the robbery that’s taking place. This must be followed by sting operations to secretly discover these culprits, bandits and robbers. They must be exposed, so the public knows who they are.

4. Police officers trained to execute the implementation of the VAT regulations must be allowed to accompany VAT Unit employees to show up randomly at events to observe, examine tickets, security bands etc and to have charges laid when irregularities are discovered. Repeat offenders must not be given permission for the hosting of future events. These police must work in civilian clothes when assigned to such tasks. The assigned police and VAT Unit employees must be prohibited from accepting tickets, food, drinks or any gifts of any value from any promoter. This is to ensure that their responsibility to the state must not be compromised.

These are just my suggestions, based on my observations. Persons must not be allowed to get away with such blatant tax evasions. It’s time to put an end to the hot robbery now, before it gets to 97 degrees and we all perish for lack of entertainment revenue.

Looking forward to some action in this regard.

A Concerned Citizen