The Board of Inland Revenue functions through powers given to it by Parliament. These are defined by statute and regulated within the rules of the common law. Legislation and courts set limits on the board. There are things it must always do, things it cannot do and things that allow its discretions to be reviewed and moderated.

Taxpayers can challenge assessments to the tax tribunal; also, in certain circumstances, they can sue direct in the High Court to make recoveries and/or impeach board practice. This is a constitutional arrangement and changing it would require the full constitutional majority. An alternative system may not meet basic legal standards and if such a thing was ever made “constitutional” it could itself amount to an illegality notwithstanding its own “constitutional enshrinement”.

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The proposed Revenue Authority will afford the tax assessor to negotiate levy with discursive freedom and spectral remit beyond purview of law. This has serious implications, including where influential businesses and groups win concessions and boundaries that are denied to others; and other things of such stripes that essentially can not have legal footing and remain nebulous.


A LOT has been said about the rule of law recently. And not just here in Guyana. In the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been the target of a slew of criticism for his comments that he would not ask the European Union (EU) for an extension to the Brexit deadline if no deal is reached with Europe by October 19.

Hurricane Dorian, from various quarters regionally and internationally, has registered in the minds of many people as a tragedy never to be forgotten.

Cereal, eggs, pancakes, bacon and sausages have practically become standard breakfast fare. When did that happen in the Caribbean? Someone in Tobago wrote to me after last week’s column, where I was trying to persuade people to look carefully at food labels and to think about food choices.

The word “precognition” is derived from the Latin combination of “prae” meaning before and “cognitio”, which means “acquiring knowledge”. Quite succinctly, it is a claimed psychic ability to see events in the future. 

The untenable rant by the teacher at the Tranquillity Government Primary School is a classic manifestation of a systemic failure of leadership at an institution which is critical to the ultimate political, economic and social well-being of our society.