Wed | Feb 19, 2020

Police should not be tax collectors

Published:Tuesday | February 12, 2019 | 12:03 AM


I want to lodge my disagreement with the pronouncement reportedly made by Det. Sgt. Paul Bernard of the Clarendon Police division at a community forum in Hayes.

I personally feel that it should not be the duty of the police to go around and see that citizens pay tax.This, I strongly, believe is the duty of the tax department.If the tax and health departments have police personnel assigned/on secondment, then John public should be told.

Even then their supporting role should be behind the scene. If not, very soon we will have police personnel or persons impersonating police going around collecting taxes from shop operators.At the said function, People’s National Party caretaker for South East Clarendon, Patricia Duncan-Sutherland, in her opposition to Bernard, said:

Partnership is key

“it should be done in partnership and not a war; as persons who are running the shops or jerking are doing it because they have no other jobs.

Nobody grow up and say what I want to do is jerk chicken or be a shopkeeper. Nobody ever say I want to open an illegal shop; that is not their desire.”Well, most people open these illegal shops because there is no enforcement of the existing laws.When these illegal shops operate for years, becoming a staple in communities and the authorities then try to shut them down, we get justifiable comments such as that of Mrs. Duncan-Sutherland.I think parish municipalities must have teams that go out in communities and shut down these illegal shops in the making.

If this was done and citizens know it will be done in short order, we would not have illegal shops. Shop operators would promptly regularize themselves.Mrs Duncan-Sutherland stopped short of saying it is OK to “teef electricity”.

Today, most if not all of these illegal shop operators across Jamaica ‘teef electricity’. In fact, generations have grown up with the desire to ‘teef electricity’, believing it’s their right to do so because the law against extracting electricity is toothless. Bottom line, the authorities should nip illegal operation it in the bud before it becomes uncontrollable.