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Hocus Pocus

Thomas Christopher Famous is a Bermuda based columnist who writes on political and social issues in Bermuda and the wider Caribbean. He has weekly columns in the following online publications; Bernews, Caribbean News Now, Today in Bermuda and The Royal Gazette. Photo: Provided
Whether it is pulling rabbits out of hats or sawing a damsel in half, magicians have been using smoke and mirrors, combined with the art of distraction, to trick their audiences for centuries. Photo: Provided
Whether it is pulling rabbits out of hats or sawing a damsel in half, magicians have been using smoke and mirrors, combined with the art of distraction, to trick their audiences for centuries. Photo: Provided
By Thomas C. Famous

“Hocus Pocus!!”

“Abracadabra!!”

Two of the signature terms of magicians.

Whether it is pulling rabbits out of hats or sawing a damsel in half, magicians have been using smoke and mirrors, combined with the art of distraction, to trick their audiences for centuries. 

However, once their audience takes a moment to see their actions for what they truly are, they realise exactly what the guy with the wand has done.

In the lead up to the 2012 Election, the OBA claimed that they would lower the cost of living. Yet, since then, the cost of living has only risen, forcing hundreds, if not thousands, of Bermudians to leave Bermuda in order to survive.

Now, in the lead up to the 2017/2018 General Election, the OBA are claiming that they will lower the payroll tax in 2018 so that individuals would save $720 per year.

Doing rough math, this equals a savings of less than $2 per day, i.e. $720/365 days.

What the OBA has purposely failed to mentioned are the increases to the cost of living that go unabated every year:

  • Groceries
  • Vehicle Fuel
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Government Fees
  • School Fees

An even harder pill to swallow is the fact that the OBA has instituted hikes to all customs duties.

For example, the customs duty Bermudians pay at the Airport now stands at 25%.

With the new tax set to be at 35% on all goods imported via the Airport after April 1, 2017, it will now cost Bermudians more money, thereby adding to the cost of living for all Bermudians and Bermudian residents.

As a prime example, if you were to bring in goods worth $1,200, you would be allowed $200 duty free and would pay 25%, or $250, on the remaining $1,000. Under the OBA scheme, you will now have to fork up 35%, or $350. Essentially an extra $100.

Any and all goods imported by any wholesaler or retailer after April 1, 2017, will be hit with increased import duties, resulting in higher prices for consumers on any product.

Are you feeling that less-than-$2.00-per-day savings as yet?

Another tax increase that will hit every person living in Bermuda is the rise in fuel taxes of 5 cents per litre. This will result in higher cost for every day private, public, and commercial transportation.

Essentially, it will cost you more to get to and from work and to take your children to school. Additionally, it will cost wholesalers more to get goods from their warehouses to the grocery stores. Without a doubt, those costs will be passed on to you, the consumers.

Again, are you feeling that less-than-$2.00-per-day savings as yet?

Here is what the Chamber of Commerce had to say about this year’s budget:

“One area of concern for the Chamber is that this budget will be inflationary for Bermudians. Those people who will benefit initially from paying lower payroll taxes, and in fact all residents, will start paying more for goods and services.

“Increased company payroll taxes and rolled-back tax concessions to restaurants and retailers mean that these businesses will have no choice but to pass on these costs to consumers, or reduce their workforce. Neither of these is good for Bermuda."

So, tell me, are you feeling that less-than-$2.00-per-day sayings as yet?

Hocus Pocus, indeed.

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