As citizens continue to challenge Government over several of its recent actions, a group of protesters stood in front of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) earlier today, to voice their concerns over the implementation of Value Added Tax (VAT) on private education.
Organiser of the movement; Roshan Khan, was among several persons chanting loudly calling for the authorities to reverse the decision to implement VAT on private education.
“To want to put VAT on education is an exercise in ludicrosity, in my opinion and even exercising stupidity!” Khan asserted.
The businessman further highlighted that unlike what was expressed by the government, the families that send their children to private educational facilities “are not rich” but they are actually making sacrifices to ensure Guyana’s youths receive the best education.
“If you’re going to VAT education, it’s like trying to tell our people ‘we want you to stay stupid,’ ‘you must have no intelligence [and become] robotic so we can control you and tell you want to do,’ the businessman explained to media operatives.
He further contended that the main reason for the calls to have VAT removed on private education has to do with Guyana’s principles and ethics. “We, the people of this country are against VAT!”
“They say we give you a reduction in VAT- an election promise. Well I say take back your 2 percent, leh we go back to the way we were!”, he added.
Other persons in the picket line also had similar cries and called on the Administration to act swiftly to correct the injustices.
Citizen, Demitri Ali called for not only the removal of VAT on private education but for the president to issue an apology for even implementing this “horrendous measure.”
“In the 50s and 60s, [education] was free. They get it free, but they want my children to pay. Now, that is unfair! The president says he is there for young people, now if he’s there for young people and yuh putting VAT, that mean that we gotta pay a fee to get the kind of education he wants to give us? That is unfair!” Michael Boucher, another protester said.
Students who were among the group of protesters told media operatives that they were against the VAT implementation on private education because they would be unable to further their studies as much as they would like to.
“As a student, who is working currently and helping to pay for my own education, it is additional burden on me. I don’t make a lot of money. I’m at an entry level job and helping to pay for my education. Adding 14 percent to that will just add the burden on me,” John Edghill, a student, said.
The group vowed to continue the protest regularly until government buckles and reverses their new tax regime. (Ramona Luthi)
The following scenes were captured by INews photographer, Carl Croker: