Belize Corruption

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Whistleblower

May 22nd, 2011

CitCo guilty of double-dipping
Thursday, February 17, 2011, 17:28
This news item was posted inThe Belize Times Newspaper.
Belize City, February 15, 2011

Canadian national Daniel Brisebois has for the past several years operated a members club at the corner of Queen and Handyside Streets called Club Planet.

In 2009 Mr. Brisebois obtained his license under the Intoxicating Liquor License Act. When he applied for a renewal in 2010 he was informed by an official at the Belize City Council that he had to pay Trade License Fee in addition to his Liquor License Fee. The matter came to a head last Monday in the Municipal Court. The Belize City Council had sued Club Planet for $6,600.00: $3,000.00 trade fee for 2010 plus $3,600.00 interest (10% per month compounded).

The case was however quickly disposed of when Senior Counsel Said Musa, who appeared on Brisebois behalf, submitted to the Court that under the Trade License Act Chapter 66, premises, in which the sole trade is the sale of liquor under a License granted under the Intoxicating Liquor License Act, such a business is expressly exempted from Trade License. The Court agreed and dismissed the claim of the City Council.

The Court said the law was clear. A business in which the only thing sold is liquor need only obtain a liquor license and pay that fee; the law does not require that business to pay a trade license fee as well.

The UDP Belize City Council, in their insatiable greed to squeeze out unlawful revenue from unsuspecting taxpayers, have been illegally collecting double taxation from many bars and club owners. But they met their match with this fearless Canadian businessman. He has been harassed endless times by unscrupulous officials from the City Council. Of course, as a result of the UDP’s endemic vindictiveness, he will no doubt be denied a renewal of his Club license for standing up for his rights.

When asked whether he didn’t fear the UDP Council’s backlash, he said, “So be it, the City Council cannot continue to fleece the public”.

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