Jerome Khan: Section 66 of the Tax Act, Chapter 80:01 of the Laws of Guyana states “The President is exempted from Taxation.” There is no qualification or other requirement for this provision of the law.
There has been considerable debate on whether or not the acquisition of land by President Bharrat Jagdeo in the Goedverwagting residential development, known as Pradoville 1, and the subsequent building of a home which was sold for financial gain should be subject to capital gains taxes. The answer to this question is simply, No.
There was no doubt that from the declared sale price there was a gain made by President Bharat Jagdeo but Section 66 of the Tax Act, Cap. 80:01, long established before President Jagdeo even became a minister of government applies, and exempts him or any president from paying taxes.
The argument that the nature of the transaction is in the form of trade, is very weak and also very strange, as it would be necessary to prove that President Bharrat Jagdeo intended to acquire the land, build a house and then sell, all being part of the process of trading in immovable property.
I have no doubt that courts of law in Guyana and the Caribbean Court of Justice will rule that at all material times President Jagdeo had an implied intention to have the property in the area referred to as Pradoville 1, as his home and even if he did not, section 66 of the Tax Act still applies and provides him with an exemption under the law.
The attack on President Bharat Jagdeo is misdirected as he has done nothing contrary to the Laws of Guyana in the sale of his property at Pradoville 1.
Agitation for change therefore ought to be directed at the Laws of Guyana, as whoever becomes president of our dear Republic some time this year will also have the same protection of the law.