I'm not sure why so many government officials seem short of patience about the recent independent research released by the Nassau Institute on the potential impact of VAT for The Bahamas.
According to press reports (Tribune Business) and information received from accountants at the recent Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) seminar, the latest person to lose his composure is Mr. Ishmael Lightbourne former partner with Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC).
While it's not the intention of the report to annoy people, in a mature democracy such as ours, one would expect people in Mr. Lightbourne's position to offer reasoned rebuttal with facts not rhetoric.
Mr. David Godsell has produced a report based on information from the around the world and the region and if we are to anticipate different results here, the government and it's agents like Mr. Lightbourne, have the awesome responsibility of proving how The Bahamas experience will be different. And that takes a little more effort than verbal attacks.
One way to begin to reduce the government deficits and debt is to reign expenditures in. Of course he only sees downsizing the government, i.e. lay offs of civil servants as a way to reduce spending.
But they can hold the line on spending for three to five years and implement pro growth policies so the private sector begins to invest again as an interim measure to see what that achieves and then take further and more drastic action if necessary.
Canada has done this. Why can't we?
Of course that might mean Mr. Lightbourne and his other consultants might lose some perks, but many of us have had to bear that burden over the last few years. What makes our "public servants" any different that they should be immune to the pain?
While any reasonable person understands the need for the government to get its fiscal house in order, the taxpayer did not get the country into this difficult position and it behooves the government and people like Mr. Lightbourne to substantiate their claims with more than incendiary comments.
Maybe if they would concentrate on providing information on where we can find the value in all this, rather than being so defensive, the public might feel more at ease?