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Moss makes case against WTO accession

Paul Moss.

Government should not be afraid to tax rich people or companies, Managing Director of Dominion Management Services Ltd. Paul Moss told Guardian Business yesterday, insisting government stay away from joining the World Trade Organization (WTO) and give the country and its citizens an opportunity for more organic growth, instead of more infiltration of foreign entities.

Moss, who was once active in politics and is involved in the financial services industry, which has been a very open sector to foreign entities, said the government must provide a “real vision for the country”, and not make it more difficult for Bahamian businesses to operate in their respective sectors by joining the WTO.

“I think that government has taken the position that they will do certain things without the authority of the Bahamian people,” said Moss.

He contended that the government should ask the Bahamian people whether or not they want the WTO for their country. He said, so far, the government’s approach to the Bahamian people has been “high-handed and condescending”.

He also protested the government’s decision to appoint Zhivargo Laing as chief negotiator for The Bahamas’ accession to the WTO, saying Laing, who was intimately involved in getting The Bahamas’ accession started under the Ingraham administration, will not be impartial in his decisions regarding whether or not WTO is good for the country.

According to Moss, Bahamians have not fully grasped what WTO accession means for The Bahamas. He insists it will not be good.

Moss said the government has to begin to fully reap what it can from the financial services sector. He explained that the country cannot continue collecting taxes for other jurisdictions at the behest of international organizations while “not collecting for yourself”.

Moss said accession to the WTO would be best left for another generation, when the country has had a chance to grow its economy independent of foreign infiltration and after Bahamians have had a fair chance to fully develop the sectors they have chosen to develop.

He insisted that many professions could become eroded, depending on what sectors are opened up to foreign participation.

Moss wants to see a new tax structure put in place instead of value-added tax, which he said has crippled Bahamians and is “breaking down the family structure”.

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