Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Member of Parliament (MP) Dr Patrick Harris has been ordered by the Tax Court to pay $1.6 million immediately or be sent to prison for 30 days. The order was made by Resident Magistrate Sheron Barnes in the Tax Court at Falmouth, Trelawny.
Harris, a medical doctor, was served to appear in the Tax Court yesterday, but he did not show up and had no legal representation. A tax department representative told RM Barnes that Harris had sufficient time to make arrangements to pay the outstanding sum but failed to do so.
RM Barnes then made the order based on the disclosures made by Scotland. Harris is MP for North Trelawny and a member of the People's National Party.
The tax department has launched a massive drive against delinquent taxpayers. Minister of Finance Audley Shaw announced in Parliament this year that the Government would be relentless in its effort to collect taxes.
A senior lawyer explained that a parliamentarian cannot be barred from sitting in the House because he owes taxes since that is not a criminal offence.