Proposed law will be worse than Manley for capital flight

Proposed law will be worse than Manley for capital flight

By Robert Clarke

Friday, August 07, 2020

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I had to shake my head when I heard a news report that a law is coming to manage “mystery wealth”. I don't think Michael Manley was ever contemplating taking people assets just because they couldn't or didn't want to tell the Government how they came by it. This supposed new law is worse than the panic Manley was said to have created that so many Jamaicans fled Jamaica, with business people leaving their merchandise at the wharf to rot, instead of clearing them — making it look as though Michael Manley crippled the country. Let's see what they are going to do this time.

This law, to me, is in the same realm of communism, where the State doesn't have to prove anything; all they have to do is to wait until you disagree with them then they send in the police to seize what you have and claim that you obtained it illegally.

I am wondering what would happen if someone, say a Jamaican living in a foreign country, would come into the island with a suitcase full of cash, money he/she had saved up because he/she does not believe in banks, and so has no receipt for it. Would the Government take that money? And, what would happen if down the road, somehow, the person decided to sue and, at that time, divulges how he/she came by the wealth? Wouldn't it be foolish that the Government, and the Jamaican people, would now have to not only pay back the money, but with interest and also whatever penalties that would be imposed by the court on the Government for the loss of use, based on an ill-advised law.

This law switches the seats; in which it's no longer the accuser who is the one to prove that you did what they allege, but you the accused has to prove that you did not do what is alleged against you. The Government cannot want to use such a law and other accusers won't be able to do the same thing.

I believe that before the Government comes up with this silly law it must think twice; everyone has the right to life, liberty and freedom. There are people right now in Jamaica who the Government doesn't even know that they are alive, much less know how they are surviving. Why would the Government not care if you exist until you start driving a fancy car or have a big house? So, I say to the Government, if you don't give water to that dying tree, you should not pick its fruit if it survives and bears.

We cannot follow other countries and create problems for ourselves and our countrymen; there is a better and much easier way to do this, and its simple. Let's fix the tax system, wherein it will become mandatory for every Jamaican to file a tax return, whether you are employed or not. This way it will be simple and easy for the Government to justify seizure of assets that cannot be accounted for.

But I also find it funny that the Government and its ministers seem to exempt themselves with special rules, while the poor man out there who hussles his way to wealth will have his seized and forced to tell Government from whence he got it.

I think the courts must not accept such situation in which the burden of proof will be on the accused and not the accuser. Who next will they be demanding the same from?

If, like in the 70s, hard-working people start packing up their bags and migrating, let's see who will be blamed this time around for the economy and capital flight.

rclarke88@hotmail.com


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