PM gives Davis green light for Family Island VAT tour

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Leader of the Opposition, Philip Davis.

Yesterday Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis extended an invitation to foot the bill for Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis to conduct town hall meetings with Family Island residents to discuss the implementation of value-added tax (VAT).

It’s not very often that government and the opposition Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) see eye-to-eye, but an exchange of words between both sides across the floor of the House of Assembly Wednesday morning proved that it is possible for the two opposing forces to agree on certain terms.

Just days before VAT is introduced at 12 per cent, the prime minister launched a Family Island tour to conduct town hall meetings to discuss the tax hike’s rollout.

So far, the prime minister has visited Andros and flew to Exuma Wednesday evening. His next stop will take him to Cat Island, Rum Cay and Sal Salvador and then Inagua.

Davis expressed concern Wednesday that was the prime minister’s efforts were not only a little too late but were also partisan.

“Our system demands balance and fairness when it comes to matters of promoting partisan public policy objectives,” Davis said.

“We were concerned until this morning that the prime minister may not have appreciated the point and how his travels may have been perceived as partisan as opposed to state objectives.”

He held these views until Dr. Minnis agreed to extend the courtesy of funding the Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) Family Island tour.

“The PLP welcomes the offer of the prime minister for an equal opportunity to make the case as to why the tax rates on VAT should remain the same,” he said.

“The party plans to take up the offer forthwith and begin its tour of the country to put the case opposite the prime minister’s.”

The two men got into a friendly verbal back-and-forth on the house floor, which sent parliamentarians into a laughing frenzy.

In the end, they both agreed that the effort would provide Bahamians with reasonable dialogue about the impending tax hike.

VAT will be rolled out on July 1.