Dairy farmers appeal for exemption from new municipal tax

The Barbados Dairy and Beef Producers Association (BD&BPA) has rubbished the Government’s new municipal solid waste tax, calling it yet another unwanted burden which it wants farmers to be exempted from paying.

In fact, the Association says instead of imposing an additional bill on farmers, the Government needs to deliver outstanding Value Added Tax (VAT) refunds owed for four years now.

The Association is preparing to put forward its case on Thursday when it is scheduled to meet with Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick.

“We were under the impression that the municipal tax was not supposed to apply to agricultural land but several of my farmers called me on Friday saying they received these bills,” said President of the Association Brian Allan.

He pointed out that “a farm is a lot of open area and not a lot of housing”. Therefore, “for us to have to pay the same sort of tax as a development is very unfair,” he said, adding that “already farmers are buried under taxes; land taxes and everything else”.

“It is going to be extremely hard for us to manage that,” he stressed.

The tax, which was first announced in the 2012 budget, has been introduced to help cover rising sanitation costs.

It has been calculated at a rate of 0.3 per cent of the site value of all properties.

Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Agriculture Society (BAS), James Paul, concedes the tax is a concern because farmers will have to pay out money.

He told Barbados TODAY the BAS would be seeking to hold talks with the Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler on the matter as he suggested that the tax “was one that farmers cannot bear”.

“I would think at this point of time that the Ministry of Finance would be prepared to look favourably at this type of operation,” Paul said.

Still, the BD & BPA, which represents 18 dairy farmers, contends that if the Government is asking for more taxes then it should be fair and pay back its debts to farmers.

“Legally, we are entitled to VAT, we haven’t received VAT since June 2011, none of the farmers. In fact, nobody else is getting back VAT either. How can we operate? In my case it is over 60 thousand dollars for a small farm and other farmers are owed more than me. That would clear off our overdrafts to pay off our bills, because we are zero rated we do not charge VAT on our milk so we cannot write off any of our purchases towards anything we sell, so every month, VAT costs us money.

“It really is starting to have an effect on our farmers,” Allan stressed. We’re in a position now where we are paying taxes, National Insurance, corporation tax, but yet we can’t the money that is owed to us by the Government,” he lamented.

Despite these challenges, Allan said the diary producers were being asked to increase their output.

“There is no excess of milk at the moment all the milk is being used. Pine Hill Diary has embarked on an advertising campaign that is working very well . . . . So it has taken a few years, the PHD is back on track and now they want more milk from the farmers so we have to step up production after they told us to cut down.”

He however said the farmers were encouraged following recent talks with executives of Sandals.

The hotel chain has assured the BD&BPA  of its preparedness to purchase milk from them when its luxury property begins operation in January next year.



13 Responses to A WASTE!

  1. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith July 1, 2014 at 4:08 am

    What if NO ONE pays the tax. Are Barbadians that bold?

  2. Wayne T Griffith
    Wayne T Griffith July 1, 2014 at 4:08 am

    What if NO ONE pays the tax. Are Barbadians that bold?

  3. Tony Webster July 1, 2014 at 5:48 am

    My wife asked me the same question! I rejoined that while it’s a citizen’s duty to pay taxes, it’s also a citizen’s legal right to protest whatever they see as a government action which is unfair, wrong-headed, clumsy, heavy-handed, un-necessary, or just plain stupid. Other folks over-an-away’, call it “civil disobedience”. If all the citizens’ comments and protestations on Brass Tacks, plus all those on the social networks, haven’t yet reached the eyes, ears, and brains of Those On High, then we might be forgiven if we reach for a bigger hammer.

    We are certainly now on an unfamiliar road; headed to a destination which we’ve never seen before; and we know not when we shall arrive! We do not even know who is driving the bus!
    I’m not suggesting (hmmm), that we should just park our car, truck, bus, ZR, Sanitation…in the middle of the road, for one hour…so that those who neither have ears, eyes, or “feelings” …might detect that we are all well and truly FED-UP with such desperate acts…from desperate folks, who are SUPPOSED to be on OUR side.
    However, remember how once your car-horn got stuck? Hmm, perhaps, lots of horns might get stuck every Thurday , whilst passing down Bay Street. Like Toot-toot-toooooooooooooooooooooot.
    Yes, you can also do a bit of “multi-tasking” and pray for this fair country, whilst you toot…I mean…enjoy the view on Bay Street.
    Tick the box: (a) Scared and silent. (b) Always do what I’m told © Enjoy to suffering-in-silence (d) I’m REALLY FED-UP.

  4. Jackie Alleyne July 1, 2014 at 7:34 am

    With rising costs on most products, and double taxation over the years who can absorb another tax ? Is anyone in Government concerned that people’s wages haven’t increased but prices have -you cannot get blood out of a stone…. And currently any owed money owed is increased by interest… The Government appear to blinkered.

  5. Elke Hassell
    Elke Hassell July 1, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Just REFUSE to pay it!

  6. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne July 1, 2014 at 10:17 am

    What a Solid Waste of Space.

  7. Bernard Walker
    Bernard Walker July 1, 2014 at 11:56 am

    school funds and police . From where ?? $$

  8. Naylun Batson
    Naylun Batson July 1, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    This tax is ridiculous… According to this the amount of garbage your household produces is directly proportional to the value of your land

  9. errol boxill July 1, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    i think d government knows d future……them ent getting back in and they want every man jack to b well of wen its over for them…SOON…they have no feeling for us..just them and family

  10. Jade Cool
    Jade Cool July 1, 2014 at 6:04 pm

    No one should be paying this tax. Just another way for government to put more money into their own pockets. Whilst the rest of barbados suffers.

  11. Ryan Bayne
    Ryan Bayne July 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm

    Julie Leenders, that one is so good. Once you do that, then Freundel will know what god he serving.

  12. Jackie Alleyne July 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    I agree with Naylun Batson – no feasibility study was done on number of people per household and the amount of garbage each household would produce – some “bright spark” just decided to guess a figure to start with and came up with “the site value of land” at 0.3% – what the site value has to do with the amount of garbage people produce is irrelevant.

  13. Patrick Blackman July 1, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    I remember when I started recycling in Barbados some years ago, I sat in on discussions dealing with an environmental levy which was instituted all back then, why then do we need this tax? What happened to the environmental levy money?


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