The Government of Guyana has inked an agreement with the Air Services Limited which will reverse its 2017 decision to impose taxes on flights to interior locations.The Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) in a public notice said it, “wishes to advise air service operators that no VAT shall be charged on airfares to transport passengers or goods to/from airstrips listed below”.A few of the 54 listed locations are located in Regions One (Barima-Waini), Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), Eight (Potaro-Siparuni) and Nine (Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo). They include Achiwib, Aishalton, Annai, Baramita, Chenpau, Dadanawa, Iwokrama, Kamarang, Kato, Monkey Mountain, Orinduik, Paramakatoi and Waramadong.Although the notice did not inform when the new decision takes effect and when it was made, it pointed out that, “Pursuant to the Agreement, VAT is also exempt from airfares to transport passengers or goods to any other rural airstrip, provided that satisfactory evidence is submitted to the company that the passenger is living in the rural area”.Effective from February 1, 2017, the Government had implemented a 14 per cent Value Added Tax (VAT) on local airfares.This move was highly criticised by locals from all walks of life.On Saturday, this publication contacted Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Roraima Airways Inc Captain Gouveia, who also serves as Chairman of the Private Sector Commission (PSC) on the matter.Gouveia said he was unaware that the taxes had been removed but lauded the change. He said, “As far as I know the Government introduced taxes on interior flights and that is still functioning today. I don’t know of any agreement to waive it [but] I think it will be a good thing”.The PSC Chair further explained, “I think interior development is very very crucial and the Government got to be able to contribute to make air transportation affordable and accessible to all of the people in the hinterland and so putting taxes on interior flights is actually a big deterrent to Hinterland development”.He said he is happy to learn that the Government finally decided to review their decision in this regard given that prior to their decision there was never VAT on Interior flights.“Since they introduced VAT and start charging VAT on hinterland flights and Kaieteur flights for example when you take people to Kaieteur Falls now there is 14 per cent on Kaieteur flights which is crazy but it is what the Government decided to do,” he posited.Nevertheless, Gouveia pointed out that he welcomes this move regardless of if it is implemented at present or in the months to come.
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Kasaragod (Ker): A 34-year-old non-resident Keralite was booked by police here for allegedly giving triple talaq to his wife through WhatsApp. The FIR was registered against B M Ashraf, a native of nearby Kudlu village, on Sunday night based on a complaint lodged by his 29-year-old wife, hailing from Shiribag, police here said. According to the complaint, the accused, on March 15, had said talaq three times through a voice message sent via WhatsApp, they said. Also Read – Uddhav bats for ‘Sena CM’ “The accused was said to be in the Gulf when the incident happened. As per the wife’s complaint, the talaq message was sent to her brother’s phone having WhatsApp account,” a police official told PTI. The man has been charged under the Section 4 read with Section 3 of the Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage)Act, 2019, he said. Section 3 makes pronouncement of talaq by words, either spoken or written or in electronic form or in any other manner whatsoever void and illegal while Section 4 provides punishment with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. Also Read – Farooq demands unconditional release of all detainees in J&K Further action would be taken after a comprehensive probe with the support of the cyber cell, the official added. It is considered to be the second such case registered in the state after the Parliament passed the triple talaq bill in July and the President gave his assent to it. In August, E K Ussam (31) was arrested in Mukkom in Kozhikodefor allegedly giving instant triple talaq to his wife, who had complained that the accused had come home and said talaq three times in front of her parents. He was arrested following a warrant issued by the Thamarassery Judicial First Class Magistrate Court, police had said.