Bauxite company has not yet complied with the GRA’s directive

Dear Editor,

The Guyana Bauxite and General Workers Union (GB&GWU) wishes to make it very clear that the non-payment of the 2017 tax refund to workers employed at the Bauxite Company of Guyana Incorporated (BCGI) has absolutely nothing to do with their submission of tax returns.

In a statement issued by the Department of Public Information (DPI), carried in the Guyana Chronicle, headlined ‘Bauxite workers’ refunds delivered to GRA from RUSAL’ (January 9), it is stated that bauxite workers are to submit a claim to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) for a refund and this was communicated to the GB&GWU and all the parties concerned. The DPI attributed the instant statement to Minister Keith Scott, who has responsibility for Labour. This is wrong.

The procedure for the refund was expressly outlined by the GRA via letter dated 30th November 2017, signed by Commissioner-General Godfrey Statia and addressed to BCGI Chief Accountant Rafeek Khan. The instant letter directed BCGI that the money deducted between January-November 2017 be refunded to the workers and the company will reclaim same when submitting future taxes on workers’ income to the GRA.

In effect what the stated items mean is that: a) BCGI shall pay workers all monies deducted for taxes on overtime and premium hours’ workers for year 2017; and b) for the year 2016 the workers, individually, shall submit their returns to GRA which will be cross-referenced with the information submitted by BCGI in order for a refund to be effected.  The issue presently under contention is the non-refund to workers for taxes deducted on overtime and premium hours worked in 2017.

GB&GWU is concerned that BCGI has to date not complied with the GRA’s directive which demonstrates continued blatant disregard for this nation’s sovereignty, its institutions and citizens/workers.  The union is further concerned about Minister Scott’s seeming comfort, as attributed in the DPI’s statement, to continuously mislead on this serious matter that relates to laws and the effective functioning of government that he, by oath, has an obligation to safeguard, protect and defend.

GB&GWU calls on the Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally, who has responsibility for Labour, to intervene and ensure this matter is treated with the seriousness and alacrity it deserves in order that the workers can receive what’s duly theirs. Further, the DPI is being advised there is no such company as RUSAL operating in Guyana. The name of the legally registered company is the Bauxite Company Guyana Incorporated (BCGI), which the Government of Guyana is part owner of.

Yours faithfully,

Lincoln Lewis

General Secretary

GB&GWU

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