Sinckler seeks to set the record straight on wheelchair shipment

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler has defended his ministry’s imposition of the two per cent National Social Responsibility Levy on a shipment of wheelchairs donated to the Barbados Council for the Disabled.

The Council complained today that the tax was applied to the shipment even though it had arrived in the Bridgetown Port before the levy went into force on September 1.

However, in seeking to set the record straight on the matter, Sinckler said in the same way the Council had requested a waiver of the Value Added Tax (VAT) and other Government charges, it could have made the same request with respect to the National Social Responsibility Levy.

“The Council knows what to do . . .  . It is the Church of Latter Day Saints that brought in the wheelchairs and donated them to the Council. Their president wrote a letter [to the Ministry]. When they wrote, there was no levy and we approved the waiver of taxes and VAT and on excise and duties and whatever else would have been applicable to them,” Sinckler told Barbados TODAY.

He went on to explain that while the shipment was sitting in the Bridgetown Port, the levy went into force.

“The items were not cleared from the Port . . .  . All they [the Council] had to do was come back to the ministry and say they want the levy waived and we would have done that,” he said, while suggesting that “they must have [gone] ahead and paid it”.

However, he stressed: “I didn’t ask them to pay it. They didn’t have to pay it . . . it’s a charitable donation. So all they had to do was come back to the ministry and say, ‘well you know when we applied there was no levy, but there is a levy now. We would like to get the levy waived’ and we would have waived it. There ain’t nuh big thing,” Sinckler said.

In fact, he told Barbados TODAY he had telephoned the Chief Executive Officer of the Barbados Port Inc., David Jean Marie and asked him to waive the port charges, which had been applied while the wheelchairs were still being housed there. He also said he had spoken to the President of the Senate, Kerryann Ifill, who is the research project officer for the BCD, about the situation.

“I called David Jean-Marie and I said, ‘David, the Council had some stuff in there and I spoke to [Government Senator] Kerryann Ifill, and I said to David Jean-Marie, the Council had some wheelchairs in there . . . the ministry was a bit behind in getting the things out . . . they would have attracted some port charges, I want you to waive the port charges for them. He said, ‘ok, no probem, it is a charitable organization . . . just tell them write an official letter’,” the Minister of Finance explained.

Sinckler said he subsequently spoke to Ifill and told her he had recieved the go ahead from Jean-Marie to waive the charges and that all she had to do was to write a letter to place on the record.

“And that’s it . . . So the same thing they could have been done with the levy,” Sinckler  said.

However, he still appeared to be willing to accommodate the disabled community, telling Barbados TODAY they could still write and request a waiver.

“Of course they can still write. It’s a charitable donation of wheelchairs. The wheelchairs [are] going to the Council and some are going to the National Assistance Board,” Minister Sinckler acknowledged.

8 Responses to Sinckler seeks to set the record straight on wheelchair shipment

  1. Hal Austin September 23, 2016 at 3:58 am

    It is Customs behaving like the Mafia again. Why do they tax charitable donation? Charitable donations should be zero rated.

  2. Vernon Chandler
    Vernon Chandler September 23, 2016 at 5:52 am

    Lol. So they aint apply for a waiver & now keeping noise over getting tax? Steupes

  3. Danny Colombian Clarke
    Danny Colombian Clarke September 23, 2016 at 6:05 am

    If you were not such a DLP parasite you would have read that the container was firstly in the port long before the tax was implemented and would be exempt anyway regardless of the contents and secondly that the government has always waived duties on such items for the disabled community that are given to the needy as opposed to being sold . The Disability Unit is a part of the government by the way . The way ppl like you daily seek to condone and praise the mass failures of this government makes me laugh. I hope neither you or your family is ever in need of such assistance . Or maybe one of your DLP buddies might come to your assistance .

  4. Carson C Cadogan September 23, 2016 at 7:00 am

    Nothing should have been waived.

    • harry turnover September 23, 2016 at 8:09 pm

      A yard fowl to the bone ..hope that in the 50th celebrations for Independence your name is forwarded to the relevant authorities to be rewarded for your sterling contribution to the art of yardfowlism and be rewarded with the paling cock trophy.

      Yet when some supermarkets do the SAME thing DEM does say it is PRICE GOUGING

  5. Michele Antoinette September 23, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Hal Austin, in your ignorance please don’t speak about things that you have no idea about. Customs does not tax charitable organizations. All taxes are imposed by the government. Once organizations are exempted from taxes by way of a letter of permission by the ministry of finance, the Asycuda system accepts a code that automatically waives the duties. Don’t hate, educate yourself to comment in an informed way.

  6. ejd September 23, 2016 at 3:17 pm

    Usually educational materials are exempted from taxes; not so the 2% levy.

  7. harry turnover September 23, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    Turning a corner is alright,but if ya en got gas to get ya back up the hill ya in ducks guts.
    Won’t be surprise if the resident yardfowl suggests a peoples tax where every living person on the Island will be expected to pay $5 ( less than 50 cents per person per month ) per year.That with a population of 380,000 plus would be expected to yield close to $2 million in a full year.
    That tax could be called a gas tax….to jump start the economy cause it like it brek down turning de corner.


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