Personal Finances

Education Tax in Effect as $2 Calling Cards Drop from 22 Minutes to 6 Minutes

By Jonel Juste

MIAMI, USA - Taxes on international calls and transfers of money came into force Thursday and are already affecting the diaspora community. "This tax is illegal and Martelly is a robber", reacted many compatriots

"There it is, this is what we deserve, we helped him get elected and this is how he thanks us", says Jeannette, a woman standing outside of a shop in Miami where she came to find out that a $2 to Haiti calling card lasts little more than 6 minutes down from the usual 22 minutes.

Indeed, taxes on international calls and transfers of money came into force on the 15th of June to support the country's free education program. In the program, President Martelly's government will collect 5 cents per minute on every international call and 1.50 dollar on each international money transfer.

At a Dominican shop in Miami, a poster announces the new measures. The cashier with a strong Hispanic accent explains to each purchaser that the number of minutes on a $2 calling card to Haiti fell to six, and that it is a decision of the new Haitian President.

"Me, I got 4 minutes on my calling card", complained Sergeline, who commented via a social network.

"Now when I send 50 dollars to Haiti, the recipient receives only $48.50", she continues.

"This tax is a scam, President Martelly is a robber", comments Gerard

.

Reacting also to the news, David, a Haitian immigrant and member of a union in Florida, said that it is an "illegal and arbitrary decision made by Martelly."

"This is not only the diaspora who challenges these taxes, but even members of Parliament in Haiti." "These taxes have no formal framework, and as always the poorest will suffer of this", he continued.

David, living for a decade in Florida, asked who in the diaspora did President Martelly contact before applying these taxes.

"I do not think that he has met with any organization of the Haitian diaspora but only those responsible for telephone companies and transfer offices", arguing that political activist should "organize in response to President Martelly."

Other fellow citizens, supporting President Martelly, support this decision and argue that the diaspora should be taxed more. "If it is for the good of the people, I support", said André in Fort Lauderdale.

Jean-Louis, New Jersey, fears his side that one of the aftermath of these taxes are the decrease in calls and transfers to Haiti.


Related 06.17.2011: Parliament: Rouzier Made $1,250,000 in 2010 and Paid Only $600 in Taxes
Related 06.01.2011: On the Government's Intent to Subordinate the Diaspora to Foreign Affairs
Related 05.27.2011: Parliament to Summon the Concerned to Explain Martelly Tax Without Legislative Approval
Related 05.26.2011: A Minority in Haiti is Threatened by the Haitian Diaspora
Related 05.26.2011: Rouzier Presents Plan for Removing Diaspora and Women Ministries
Related 04.26.2011: Martelly to Tax Diaspora $8.5M USD per Month
Source: Haiti Press Network , Le Nouvelliste


Book reviews

Haiti Noir

Book Review

The anthology edited by Edwidge Danticat puts a uniquely Haitian spin on the crime genre

"Danticat has succeeded in assembling a group portrait of Haitian culture and resilience that is cause for celebration." - Publishers Weekly