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Planes: Fire & Rescue
  • Genre : Adventure, Animation, Comedy
  • Rating : A - All ages admitted

When world-famous air racer Dusty learns that his engine is damaged and he may never race again, he must shift gears and is launched into the world of aerial firefighting. Dusty joins forces with veteran fire and rescue helicopter Blade Ranger and hi...

News Article

November 14, 2013
Neil Ellis new presiding bishop at Global United Fellowship of Churches

Almost three months after Bishop Neil Ellis, senior pastor at Mount Tabor Church, officially announced his resignation from the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, he was installed as presiding bishop and prelate of the newly launched Global United Fellowship of Churches (GUF).
Ellis was installed on Wednesday, November 6 at a service of Episcopal institution and inauguration in the Grand Ballroom at Atlantis, which was attended by delegates from as far away as Germany. The chief celebrant for the service was Bishop Jay Delano Ellis, metropolitan archbishop, The Joint College of African-American Pentecostal Bishops. The concelebrants were Alfred Owens, metropolitan archbishop and presiding prelate at Mount Calvary Holy Churches of America Inc., and Bishop Kenneth Ulmer, presiding bishop of Macedonia International Fellowship, chairman, Council of Apostolic Fathers and senior pastor of Faithful Central Bible Church in Los Angeles.
Bishop Jay Delano Ellis said the GUF presiding bishop was a man who embraced his brothers and sisters of like faith and never found reason to scorn anyone at any time.
"He helps. He heals. He lifts," said the chief celebrant. "We're here not to tell Global United Fellowship what to do with its organization, not to tell you what ought to be done. If we know so much we should have done it before we got here, ourselves. But we're here to seal your election and to say to the world that he is suitable for the position, and respected among us as one who has earned the right to sit in the apostolic chair."
The GUF presiding bishop leads a fellowship that is now nine weeks old with a total of 133 churches and seven fellowships totaling 149 churches.
And he thanked his congregation at Mt. Tabor Church.
Ellis took the helm at GUF after resigning in August from Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International in August after 20 years.
GUF is a Christian Fellowship that embraces churches, ministries, fellowships and pastors who acknowledge, accept and submit to Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. According to its mission, GUF will not allow any name, denomination, doctrine, tradition, socio-economic or cultural composition to separate or prevent them from experiencing the authentic fellowship of the saints of the living God. Its mission is to foster biblical unity among Christian believers as one body in Christ.
Its mission states that it will focus on the empowering and perfecting of saints through biblical training, mentoring, discipling, personal and ministry development and that it will focus on the cultivation of spiritual gifts rather than on doctrines and theological positions.
The GUF mission states that it believes there is more that unites people than that which divides people.
In its beliefs, it says that God is the creator of all that exists and the Body of Christ is the vehicle that God uses for impacting the world. It believes that the Word of God is the standard for both the family and the nations and should not be compromised, and that everything people do they must glorify God. It also believes that members of the Body of Christ should be equipped for the challenges of life, the expectations of God and the demands of ministry as what they do today affects future generations.
GUF is an international body of spiritual leaders, fellowships and congregations united to strategically plan, implement and execute transformative and generational change as well as expanding the kingdom of God to all the nations of the world.
The fellowship is dedicated to becoming a voice, speaking forth the mind and counsel of God. Its purpose is to promote the agenda of God in the earth, while advancing kingdom culture.
In its statement of purpose it says it will use its collective influence, wisdom and resources to work to ensure that continuous generations of prophetic voices, change agents and policy makers rise up in the kingdom of God to reclaim the "seven mountains" that shape culture and influence human behavior.
The seven mountains it will collectively organize to influence, change and to assist with the advancement of the kingdom for the glory of God include business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion.
GUF as a Christian fellowship commits to embracing both the eternal transforming power of Calvary and the supernatural power of Pentecost, demonstrating the principles of holiness, miracles and revelation as exemplified specifically in the book of Acts and throughout the scriptures.

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Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles
  • Genre : Horror, Romance
  • Rating :

A vampire tells his epic life story: love, betrayal, loneliness, and hunger....

News Article

November 01, 2013
20/20 exhibit celebrates works of Chantal Bethel and Sheldon Saint

FREEPORT, Grand Bahama -- Chantal Bethel and Sheldon Saint - names that are synonymous with The Bahamas and creativity, are combining their talents in a new show at The Grand Gallery.
20/20 is a celebration of Saint and Bethel's 20 years of working as artists, respectively; careers that have established them firmly as important artists in The Bahamas.
Both artists frequently address themes of life and nature - in this show they explore these ideas further by encouraging consideration not only of the natural beauty of The Bahamas, but National treasures, for example "Tribute to Henry J. Bowen" - one of the Framers of the constitution of the Bahamas , the only one from Grand Bahama island - by Bethel.
Theses themes are relevant at any time, but especially of value now, during the 40 years celebration of Bahamian Independence. 20/20 offer us a chance to reflect on the diversity, complexity, history, relationships and simplicity of The Bahamas as seen through the eyes of the artists.
Sheldon brings his attention to 'life in The Bahamas' and implicit to this is the relationships between nature and humans. His watercolours are alive with a warm vibrancy whether the subject is children, the ocean or flowers.

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News Article

November 12, 2014
RFP opens for 2nd cellular license

Prime Minister Perry Christie, together with the Cellular Liberalization Task Force (CLTF) headed by former Financial Secretary Ruth Millar, yesterday issued the government's request for proposals (RFP) for parties interested in securing license to provide cellular services in The Bahamas, laying out the terms of the two-phase competitive selection process expected to be complete by April next year.
The government noted that the cost of registration - a prerequisite for accessing the RFP - is $5,000. The fee to actually submit a proposal is $25,000, and those proposals are due by February 2, 2015. The government expects to announce a winner by April.
Prime Minister Christie explained that the selection process involves a technical and financial assessment in phase one and a spectrum auction in phase two.
"Only those applicants that satisfy the minimum criteria of phase one will be allowed to participate in phase two. The successful applicant, in the end, will be the one that acquires the highest combined score of the scores derived in phase one and phase two," he said.
"With this approach, the government is seeking to strike the right balance of optimizing the revenue from allocating rights to valuable spectrum, with its broader objectives of promoting competition, investment and innovation in the cellular mobile market."
Selection process
The first phase of the RFP process is a technical and financial assessment. During this phase, an evaluation committee consisting of members of the CLTF and other experts will judge the capabilities of those parties submitting proposals. Submitters will be made to prove their financial and technical capacity to meet the terms of the RFP and provide the service at the level required.
CLTF member Michelle Grell-Bereaux explained that once the evaluation committee has determined which applicants would progress to phase two, the spectrum auction, an announcement will be made.
"URCA (the Utilities Regulatory and Competition Authority) will conduct a spectrum auction on behalf of the government. The spectrum auction currently being proposed is a multiround ascending auction that would be conducted online. That is what is currently being proposed by URCA," Grell-Bereaux reported.
At least three companies have already expressed an interest in bidding for the second cellular license: regional telecoms giant Digicel, local start-up Junkanoo Mobile and IP Solutions International (IPSI), a Bahamian company partnered with Limitless Mobile Holdings.
Third license
BTC Deputy Chair Rowena Bethel confirmed for Guardian Business yesterday that the law provides for a third license to be issued in 2016.
Bethel pointed out that under the Communications Act of 2009, the then government provided for Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) to enjoy a three-year monopoly in cellular services following the privatization. Given that the company was privatized in 2011, that puts the expiration of that monopoly at April 2014, opening the market for a second licensee.
"Under the same provision, it guarantees a duopoly - two players in the market - until 2016, and in 2016, the law gives the government the option to consider the entrance of a third licensee into the market," Bethel said.
"Of course the prevailing factors and circumstances would be brought to bear before the determination of that type would be made," she added, noting that while the government has the right to issue a third license in 2016, there is no guarantee that it will do so.
In fact, the information provided by the Office of The Prime Minister to accompany the announcement of the RFP indicated that the government's intention is to delay the possible entry of a third cellular mobile operator for at least three years from the commercial launch of the second operator.
Christie also explained the measures intended to ensure the transparency of the process.
In order to receive a copy of the RFP, an interested party must register to participate in the process, at a cost of $5,000. All registered entities will have the opportunity to seek clarification on the RFP via a virtual data room that has been set up by the task force. All queries made and responses to those queries will be posted within the data room for all registered entities to see.
"This will be the only mechanism for persons participating in this process to communicate with the task force and/or the evaluation committee about this process," the prime minister said.
The task force has created a website where persons can obtain further details about the task force and the selection process on the government's website:

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News Article

December 02, 2011
Tomal Kelson Stubbs, 31

Funeral Service for Tomal Kelson Stubbs, age 31 years, of Springfield, Fox Dale, will be held on Saturday December 3rd, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at Ebenezer Mission Baptist Church, St. Charles Vincent Street. Officiating will be Bishop Elkin Symonette, assisted by Rev. Michael Symonette. Interment will follow in Woodlawn Gardens, Solider Road.
Left to cherish his precious memories are: his parents: Rev. Zendel and Sandra Stubbs; three brothers: Judson, Zendel Jr. and Jabari; his fiancé: Aisha Brown; nineteen aunts: Mary Canter, Sherry Baptiste,  Elizabeth Cartalla, Michelle, Fredricka and Lorna Glinton, Barbara McDougal, Evan, Yvonne Stubbs-Rolle, Nicole and Nadia Rolle, Denice Stubbs-Lewis, Manette Stubbs-Darling, Michelle Deveaux, Margaret, Arlina and Tatianna Stubbs, Beulah Hart and Shena Mortimore; fourteen uncles: Min. Patrick Glinton, Fred, Anthony and Lionel Glinton, Joseph Canter, Ruben, Perry and Geno Stubbs, Jeffrey McDougal, Geoffrey Stubbs-Deveaux, Darrel and Dhann Rolle, Kemuel Lewis and Phillip Knowles; nine grand aunts: Francina Cleare, Pamela, Precina, Claudine and Ruth Stubbs, Leah and Nora Rolle, Joyce McClean, and Leatha Brown; eight grand uncles: Rev. Freddie, Rev. JJ., Abraham and Jerry Stubbs, Cornelius Ambrose, Roosevelt Cleare, Leviticus Rolle and Alexander Newbold; nine great grand aunts: Jenny Smith, Florence Moultrie, Barbara Pitt, Icelyn Rolle, Lenora Stubbs, Rosabell, Maudline and Jessimae King and Dorothy Burns; numerous cousins including: Javado Thompson, Jameko Ferguson, Michael, Valentino, Melissa, Lamar, Ashton, Ashley, Sochia, Cedranique,  Tyler, Manesha, Daniella, Daniel, Kyle, Geran, Daria, Gere, Tavashio, Orval, Giovanni, Candia, Astra, Enoch, Mark Stubbs and Ruben Stubbs of Atlanta, Cpl 2052 Anton Hamilton, Cpl 2382 Jeffery Canter, Con.142 Monalisa Woodside, Ellen Archer, Helton and Anika Adderley, Sharon, William, Corrie, Athyma and Andrew Smith, Calvin Brown, Rosemary and Kirkland Glinton, Estelle, Danny, David, Nelson and Shirley King, Rena Wilson, Devon Daley, Owen Williams, Geno Forbes, Ronald and Kitonia Walcott, Kishanique Watson, Shantell, Geno, Geno Jr., Genniqqiah Forbes, Shaquille Moss, Tameka Clarke, Norma Brown, Barbara, Trevor, Demetrius, Valerie, Tanya, Deidre, Ingrid and Prescott Cleare, Doyle Gaitor, Joey, Ellis, Oral, Bobby, Teresa, Debbie, Christina, Mona, Donnie and Brian Ambrose, Keva Romer, Patricka Glinton, Stanley Pitt, Suziemae Dorsette and Leonard Smith of the R.B.D.F., three god parents: Fred Glinton, Noel Dale, Dorethia Bain; other relatives and friends including: Malfred Collie, Paula Crawley, Xavier Cartwright, Vado Major and family, Jakeil Cartwright, Annette Williams and family, Atlantis Laundry Choir, Drexel Newbold and family, Rakeish Major and family, Orie Godet and family, Ellen and Obie Archer, Ervin Moxey, Elcina Knowles, Dorcas Johnson, Elsiemae Stubbs, Alfred and Cindy, Willimae Pratt, Olgamae Meadows, Coralmae, Wendamae, Junior, Nat, Michael, Josey, Philip, Charles Stubbs, Rev Abraham Colebrook, Byron Missick, Karen Missick, Lloyd, Phillipa, Glen, Helena, Bridget, Shanette, Candi Rolle, Denise, Dennis, Bradley Rolle, Ingrid Gibson, Lana Knowles, Jennifer Braynan, Fr. Dwight Rolle, Janis Rolle, Marilyn Taylor, Leroy, Joanna, Bernadette, Diane Rolle, Ambri Close family, Springfield Road family, Charles Strachan, Judy Strachan, Munroe, Mr. Bobby Glinton and family, Canterbury Park family, the Adderely, the Curry, the Brown, Lewis, Bethel and Robinson families, Sidney Deveaux and family, and the Management and Staff of Atlantis Laundry Department.
Friends may pay their last respects at Butlers' Funeral Homes & Crematorium, Ernest and York Streets on Friday December 2nd, 2011, from 1:00 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. and at the church on Saturday December 3rd, 2011 from 9:30 a.m. until service time.

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Original Sin
  • Genre : Drama, Mystery, Romance
  • Rating :

A young man is plunged into a life of subterfuge, deceit and mistaken identity in pursuit of a femme fatale whose heart is never quite within his grasp. Remake of François Truffaut's 1969 film 'Mississippi Mermaid'...

News Article

June 02, 2011
Garth Basil Dadso Wells, 71

Funeral services for Garth Basil "Dadso" Wells, 71 yrs., a resident of Albury Street and formelry of George Town, Exuma, who passed away on 27th May, 2011, will be held at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, Farrington Road, on Saturday at 11 a.m. Officiating will be Fr. Martin Gomes, SS.CC.  Interment follows in Catholic Cemetery, Tyler Street.
Left to mourn his faithful and loving memories are:
His loving and devoted wife: Mary

SONS: Stephen, Terrance, Ricardo and Valentino Wells, and Jonathon Barry

DAUGHTERS: Dorothea Wells-Brown and Elaine Wells-Lightbourn

BROTHERS: Willis Hart, Dereck Wells, Sidney and Carlton Adderley

SISTERS: Jacquelyn Wells-Dean, Laura Smith, Elsie Moxey, Brenda Wells-Rolle and Brenda Wells-Martin

AUNT: Rowena Rolle

SON-IN-LAW: Rudolph Brown

DAUGHTERS-IN-LAW: Beroline, Kendra and Sharmaine Wells  

BROTHERS-IN-LAW: Clement, Simeon, Leander, Ephraim and Thomas Higgs

SISTERS-IN-LAW: Norma Pinder, Thaclia Higgs, Carmetta Saunders, Veronica Adderley and Philicia Roberts of Harbour Island, Daisy Dorsett and Daphne Adderley.

NIECES: Cheryl Strachan, Pamela Lowe, Tammy Butler, Jan Miller, Deidre Taylor, Darshelle Sands, Glenda Rolle, Brendalee Martin, Julie and Lisa Hart, Dereeka, Marsha and Cypriana Wells, Jonella and Kaylisa Adderley, Theresa Wells-Maclour and Charmaine Wells-Burrows, Laverne Bethel, Joy Armbrister, Karen Rowland, Tanya Thompson and Dominique Thompson.

NEPHEWS: Derell, Patrick, David, Jeffery and Wentworth Wells, George Wells, Jr., Tavyn Sands, Rodney Cruz and Creflo Adderley.

GRANDCHILDREN: Shandon Wells, Sr., Patrick, Brian, Stevette, Suzuette, Stevandrae, Joshua, Jonathon, Joel, Joshua, Jamel, Jermiah, Racquel, Shonell, Sheurell, Jahsiri, Tyler, and Theo Wells.  Crystal, Dominique, and Rachael Brown, Michael, Shane, and Marnarrey Lightbourn.

GREAT-GRANDCHILDREN: Michael, Kristin, Ashley and Miley Cartwright, Shandon Wells, Jr., Brenay and Trinity Wells.
A host of other relatives and friends including Michael Cartwright, Tashel Wells, Shelia Murchision-Johnson, Antoinette Dean, Jeffery Adderley, Wellington Walkes, Jr., Mr. & Mrs. Reginald Turnquest and Family, Pastor H.A. Roach and Family, Ena Thompson, Stephanie Delancey, Charlice Curry, Karal Roach, and Luther & Wendell Rolle, (EXUMA). The Doctors and Nurses of the Princess Margaret Hospital, Male Surgical Ward #2, The Food and Nutrition Department of Sandilands Rehabilitation Centre and Princess Margaret Hospital, the entire Chippingham Community, and the Cricket Club Association.
Friends may pay their last respects at Demeritte's Funeral Home, Market Street, from 2-5 p.m. on Friday & on Saturday at the church from 10 a.m. until service time.

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News Article

September 01, 2012
Two charged in relation to latest murder

Two men were arraigned in a magistrate's court yesterday in connection with the murder of Owen Hanna, who was shot dead near his home in the Redland Acres Subdivision Wednesday morning.
Hastings McQueen, 22, of Cowpen Road, was charged with Hanna's murder while Jhoven Davis, 24, of Sumner Street, was charged with abetment to murder and being an accessory after the fact of the murder.
Both men were arraigned before Chief Magistrate Roger Gomez in Court One in the South Street Magistrates Court Complex.
The pair arrived at the courthouse together, shackled at the hands and feet.
According to the court dockets, it is alleged that McQueen unlawfully caused Hanna's death.
McQueen was not required to enter a plea and was silent as Gomez read the charge against him. It is alleged that the day after the murder, Davis helped McQueen evade due process of the law even though he knew that McQueen allegedly committed murder.
Davis also was not required to enter a plea to the charges.

The men were remanded to Her Majesty's Prisons until December 7 when the matter is expected to proceed via a voluntary bill of indictment.
The men can apply to the Supreme Court for bail, Gomez said.
Police found Hanna's body lying outside an apartment building off Sumner Street shortly after 9:30 a.m. Wednesday. Police said he was shot to the upper body. Hanna, a fisherman and a father-of-seven, died at the scene.
Hanna's death was the 82nd murder for the year, police said.

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News Article

November 04, 2013
VAT: Fiscal savior or looming tsunami

A group of obviously concerned and jittery Bahamian business leaders got a sobering message recently from Financial Secretary John Rolle: The country would suffer a "bloodier and more painful" experience in a few years than it currently faces with unsustainable debt levels if it does not move quickly to reform its tax system.
The government has announced that Value Added Tax (VAT) will be introduced on July 1, 2014.
Rolle said the cost of inaction would result in an unchecked rise in debt, less capacity to borrow for emergencies, which increases our vulnerability to shocks like hurricanes and sudden contractions in foreign economies on which we depend for tourists.
"There will also be a credit downgrade and eventual loss of access to credit markets. This will result in one outcome: Much higher tax increases, larger reductions in spending, possible reduction in public sector employment [and] scrutiny of the exchange rate parity," he warned.
The nightmare scenario presented by Rolle should be enough to wake every Bahamian up.
The Bahamas' financial future faces a crisis.
On our current path, it is no understatement that we are doomed without action.
Government debt as at June 30, 2014 is projected to be $4.9 billion, compared to $2.4 billion as at July 2007.
The Bahamas has a legacy of high budget deficits.
Over the last two fiscal years, the government has seen a total deficit in excess of $500 million. The projected deficit at the end of 2013/2014 is $529 million.
The government intends to borrow $465 million to finance the projected revenue shortfall in the 2013/2014 fiscal year. This would add to the $650 million the current administration already borrowed.
Almost one out of every four dollars in revenue collected by the government must be allocated to pay the interest charges on the public debt and cover the debt repayment.
This current state of fiscal affairs is worrying on many levels, and it is unsustainable.
At a recent gathering of business leaders hosted by the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation, Marla Dukharan, senior economist with RBC Caribbean, revealed a startling reality.
The Bahamas' financial capacity to cover its import needs is the lowest in the region -- at just seven weeks worth of import cover, or around half of the regional average, and significantly below international "prudential" benchmarks for external reserves.
Dukharan views taxation reform for The Bahamas as "quite critical" at this stage in the evolution of the Bahamian economy and suggested the alternative could be a "spiraling" debt situation.
For the government, continuing to do things as it has been doing is not an option.
"You'd be surprised of where you could end up if things don't work out," Rolle told business leaders.
"I know there is the thinking that [we should] leave the revenue side alone. But are you prepared to have a bankrupt government? Are you prepared to change the value of your currency?
"Are you prepared for the social consequences of what happens when a government runs out of resources and can't even find the money to provide support for the poor and those who may get angry when they run into tough times?"
The government is not prepared for any of these consequences, and it is unlikely that the citizenry is either.
No reasonable Bahamian armed with the facts of the current situation would deny there is a need for reform.
What many do not agree on is what reform option the government should pursue and the timeframe for implementation.
In the government's white paper on tax reform, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Perry Christie notes that the government's revenue base is extremely narrow and ill-suited to the expanding needs and demands of modern Bahamian society.
The country's tax system is out of balance as it predominantly focuses on goods, he pointed out.
It does not share the tax burden with those who are providing services in a way that is either fair or adequate.
The government has decided to go the way of Value Added Tax to secure an adequate revenue base in support of modern governance.
According to the white paper, the government intends to effect the eventual reductions in import duty rates that will accompany The Bahamas' accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), and reduce excise tax rates to compensate for VAT.
As a consumption tax, VAT provides a broader base for government revenue; imposes taxes on goods and services equally and imposes greater discipline on businesses, the white paper says.
It also says it encourages investments by providing incentives to business on capital expenditure, and the audit trail that would be required promotes greater efficiency in the collection of taxes.
According to the white paper, the primary distinctive feature of a VAT as compared to a traditional sales tax is its unique method of collection, which also represents its main attraction relative to a sales tax.
VAT is collected and remitted at each stage of the production and distribution chain. VAT paid at each stage is credited against VAT owing at the next stage, and only the difference is remitted.
As such, a VAT system has a built-in mechanism to encourage compliance, the white paper notes.
A VAT registrant expects the buyers of his product to claim credits for VAT paid to him, thereby discouraging him from attempting to hide VAT receipts.
In its look at various options for tax reform, the white paper highlights VAT as a more favorable option than a sales tax, which is a tax imposed at the final point of sale.
It says that while relatively simple to administer, a sales tax suffers from important drawbacks. As a single stage tax, it is susceptible to evasion if it is imposed at a rate in excess of 10 percent, the document notes.
Professor Gilbert Morris, who chairs the Turks and Caicos Resort Owners Economic Council, said what the Bahamas government is effectively introducing amounts to a sales tax "with all the complications and inefficiencies of a VAT".
"You bring in something, you sell that to a wholesaler, or you bring in something if you're Solomon's and you sell and you are going to charge VAT on that. Where is the value added? There is no value added. We didn't do anything to the product," said Morris, who served as an observer during the implementation of VAT in several African nations, and now sits on the Turks and Caicos Islands' commission on future tax needs.
"If you look at the government's white paper, it actually describes a manufacturing process using a farmer, something that's not particularly relevant to The Bahamas."
In that example, a farmer cuts down trees and sells them to a lumber mill, charging 15 percent VAT, which he remits to the government; the lumber mill transforms the trees into wood and sells to a furniture manufacturer, charging 15 percent VAT.
The lumber mill deducts the amount of VAT it paid to the farmer and remits the difference to the government.
The manufacturer transforms the wood purchased from the lumber mill into a chair and sells the chair to a retailer, charging 15 percent VAT.
The manufacturer deducts what he paid the lumber mill in VAT and remits the difference to the government.
The retailer then sells the chair to a client and charges 15 percent VAT. He deducts what he paid in VAT to the manufacturer and remits the difference to the government.
Rolle shared with The Nassau Guardian what is perhaps a more practical example in the Bahamian context.
A retailer imports a refrigerator. He pays a now reduced customs duty and 15 percent VAT on that product.
When he sells this refrigerator to the consumer at a higher price, he charges 15 percent VAT and remits to the government the amount of VAT he paid at the time of import.
VAT, properly structured, is a tax on consumption (both good and services), not a tax on business.
Agriculture and fisheries; social and community services; health and education services are among the areas that will be exempted.
But exemptions will be kept "to a bare minimum", the government has advised.
The effectiveness of the tax is tied to many factors, including how it is implemented, tax experts and others with experience in effecting tax reform have said.
In a 2010 interview with Erasmus Williams, press secretary to the prime minister of St. Kitts-Nevis, former Barbados Prime Minister Owen Arthur warned that VAT could result in "very serious defects" if its implementation is not properly managed.
Arthur said that once properly managed, VAT could be of tremendous benefit.
He noted that ahead of the implementation of the tax system in Barbados in 1997, there had been fears and concerns among some.
One leading businessman, for instance, put out an ad warning consumers that Hurricane VAT was coming.
"Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die," the former prime minister said.
"I think it's a minor miracle for a country to believe that you can have a well developed set of social services but you have no tax on income, and no tax on consumption.
"I wouldn't know how to run a country in that way and people have to understand that if you want to have social benefits they have to be paid for."
The Bahamas is roughly eight months off from implementing VAT. With each passing week, fears over the pending tax seem to be rising.
No legislation or regulations have been released as yet, and there is a lack of specifics and answers to key questions from everyday consumers and the business community, which will be responsible for collecting the tax and remitting it to the government.
Kevin Burrows, senior vice president at CFAL, suggested that as a tax, VAT is a good option.
"Fundamentally, there is nothing wrong with a VAT if the economy has enough time and leeway to be able to know what's coming," Burrows said.
"VAT is only a problem if we have such a tight timeframe like we do now. I think that's more of a problem than the VAT itself."
Many business people fear the complex auditing that will accompany VAT will be onerous, and they want enough time to understand the new system.
Worries over VAT's likely inflationary impact are also apparent.
Morris pointed out that when the new system is implemented, the cost of living will "absolutely" rise.
"It's basic first year economics," he said.
Rolle admitted that, "On the cost of living there will be some initial impact from the VAT but that initial impact will disappear in a very short timeframe, over six, eight years. That is not long.
"...You can look at other international experiences. A country typically has a single response in the price the year after.
"Their inflation goes back down to the normal level and in some cases it goes lower. The fact that your inflation is lower in subsequent years means that on a compounding basis, eventually the prices under the VAT system fall behind the prices that were being paid without VAT."
He made the comment at the recent Chamber event, but it did not appear to provide comfort to the many members of the business community who were gathered.
Pressed on the cost of living issue, Rolle said while some estimates had been prepared, the government was not yet prepared to release them as they were being looked over.
Also pressed on a timeline for the availability of legislation, he gave "two weeks" as an answer. If that is true, it would mean legislation would be ready this week.
In a letter to Prime Minister Christie on October 16, the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation's Coalition for Responsible Taxation requested the release of "critical information": the proposed VAT Act; VAT regulations; the revised Customs Tariff Schedule and the financial modeling that justifies the financial claims being made by the introduction of VAT.
Given the "seismic change" in the country's taxation system and the delays in the release of critical information, the Coalition strongly recommended that the government postpone the intended date of implementation of VAT "to a date that is not less than 12 months" from the release of that information.
On its current track, VAT appears doomed to be a difficult birth.
While Rolle has been making the rounds and has started the discussion with the business community and other groups, the desperately needed public education campaign has yet to start in earnest.
Toward the end of the year, the government will likely lose the attention of the business community and the public generally as the holiday season tends to create distractions.
With so much unknown about how VAT is intended to work in The Bahamas, the so-called education process is hobbling along with a couple of broken limbs.
While more information is likely to be out by the new year, this might raise more questions that need to be addressed.
The government will have to have two messages: One for the business community and one for the consumer. VAT is a complex issue. The challenge is to simplify it and provide assurance that it is being handled properly.
With all the matters that now concern the government, perhaps no one in government thought of the fact that the VAT public education campaign will take place simultaneously with a promised constitutional referendum education campaign.
That referendum has already been postponed twice and is now scheduled to take place by June. This is a lot to put on the public. It is a lot to digest.
Taxpayers will be worried about their wallets. Businesses will be worried about their profit margins. In some instances, projects will be placed on hold and it is likely too that some businesses will place a hold on hiring, if not shave their staff count.
With such a short window before July 1, the government has a lot to consider.
It is asking the Bahamian people to make an investment in the country's longer term economic health.
Such an investment is vital, of course. It is in nobody's interest for VAT to fail.
As the financial secretary opined, "If it doesn't work, we're all going down with it."

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