Laing is at the centre of this Customs/BFS saga


zhivargo-laing-22<<< Junior Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing.

Nassau, BahamasBahamas Food Services [BFS ] on Gladstone Road has no excuse for its failing to pay the taxes owed to the Bahamian people and should suffer the same fate the Ingraham government delivered to Jackson Ritchie and Wendall Jones.

Why is it the devil will treat one set of his children one way and others another is beyond us? Nevertheless, that’s the devil!

Bahamas Press sources in the ministry of finance tell us since the breaking of our bombshell has brought attention to the matter. BFS still owes the Bahamian people over $119,000. To save face on Tuesday someway far back in the Toilet Paper after reading it on BP, business reporter, Chester Robards, decided to call up Don Carnine, Bahamas Food Services (BFS) general manager, and ask him if BP’s story was true.

In a bold confession Carnine admitted that his company did owe the government of the Bahamas plenty money and hinted that his business was on a payment plan with the Customs Department. GomezGlen

“We are on a payment schedule with them, and an agreement that is in place. It is just a normal business transaction between us,” Carnine told the Toilet Paper .

The reporter then ventured into becoming an apologist for the food giant suggesting that it wasn’t the company’s fault and that the error in classification on the taxes owed was the mistake by the Customs. The Toilet Paper went further to say they didn’t know what the product was. Well, Bahamas Press has the scoop on this story and will show the toilet paper how not practice spin but how to investigate breaking news.

Readers of BP would remember it was back in 2007 when junior minister of finance, Zhivargo ‘CryBaby Sour’ Laing, ordered the reclassification of juices in the Customs Department to assist a company on Grand Bahama [which we believed he owns allegedly]. Mona Vie was the scandal that erupted at the time, which caused uproar in the Parliament, which was then followed with lawsuits against Frank Smith, B J Nottage and John Rolle . The instruction by Laing was a breaking of the law according to former Customs Comptroller John Rolle.

Documents supplied to BP by our deep throat in the ministry of finance revealed the money owed by BFS dates back to the same time period when Laing ordered the changed in the classification on juices to 10% to benefit his cohorts and family members.

Letters by that same source reveals Customs desires the public money to be returned and we’ve learned to this day BFS has yet to pay one dime. They have asked Carnine for it, he’s refused to send the funds. Customs investigators have been trying their best to reclaim the monies owed to the government from the food giant. They have went as far as to write Brussels to verify the exact tax on the juice cocktails imported by BSF.

Bahamas Press also reports, two contracts to the BFS by Customs have been issued to them to assist in drawing down on the bill. But no response has yet come. And Tuesday’s bold admission by the company in question has yet to be acted upon. WHAT BRAZEN ATTITUDE IS THIS? mona-vie-2.jpg

  • Why would Hubert Ingraham allow his junior minister to get away with the crime of reclassifying taxes?
  • Secondly, when will the PM instruct his officers to do to BFS what he had them do to Jackson Ritchie?
  • Why is the junior minister of finance so quiet on this?
  • Why didn’t the Tribune call Laing on the matter or better yet the PM?

Our letters, which we publish today, show that the money owed to Customs from BFS is dated back to October 5th, 2007. Juices, which attracted a 60% tax, was taxed at 10%. It was never an error as stated in Customs letter. It was a reclassification request in a letter to Customs by the junior minister, Zhivargo Laing! This was a direct result of Laing’s meddling with the government’s revenue collection. It was unlawful and illegal for him to do so! IT IS A CRIME FOR ANY OFFICIAL TO DO SUCH!

Bahamas Food Service must pay the people what it owes and Laing should equally suffer for helping such a large company to THIEF THE PEOPLE MONEY!

Oh and in case we forget the Toilet paper should know the product was Ocean Spray Cocktail Juices. NOW YOU KNOW!


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  1. I agree with the ex-customs officer, they’re a bunch of shysters top to bottom.P.M. can change the rates at will, but not headings.As for a commision of inquiry, who you gonna find honest enough to run it?Not this guava season!!Not on this plantation!!

  2. “Next Govt commission an Enquiry” just like how the FNM is going to do the same thing to Bradley Roberts and Perry Christie for IDB loan scandal aye?…. if you want talk about the RED SOIL (DIRT) lets investigate the Yellow ones too. Just wanted to point that out cause I find you to be very good in pointing out the FNM flaws and not so good in pointing out the PLPs’ own. SAME PLAY DIFFERENT CAST.

    • “Borrowing the words of an unknown author I say,”let the chips fall where they may”.Wrong is wrong and 10/45 is again found wanting.Am still waiting to hear the evidence from IDB as thus far its only rhetoric bahamasyouth.Name change does not alter your bias.

  3. Prevalence of lawbreakers in the Bahamas is now endemic and I call on the next Govt to commission an Enquiry so that all of the dirt can be exposed.Borrowing the words of an unknown author I say,”let the chips fall where they may”.

  4. I am an ex-customs officer well versed in the Brussells system which the country adopted, in law, in 1976. The system and it’s “explainatory Notes” were all made legal through parliament and importers were/are obliged to adhere to how the system classifies an item. The rates of duties are the only items inserted by the government and they are the only items that the government can have the parliament. Classification of an item is dictated by the system and the system puts products like Mona Vie and the other fruit flavoured drinks under the high rate of duty as oppose to 100% fruit and vegetable juices under the low rate(10%). Laing committed an offence at the time and we told him so. Ingraha did as well because he defended Laing in the parliament, when the matter was being discussed. He told parliament that Laing was acting on his instructions when he (Laing) claimed he “penned” instructions to customs, instructing them to continue accepting the incorrect rate of duty on the product. This extra money is still due the public treasury. Bunch of asses running the show and that is why we have chaos. 

  5. Right now I upset, because when I sit down and think about the amount of monies I have to come up with on a monthly basis just to pay custom for them to clear items for my store and Laing who is apart of the government trying to evade paying customs what is due to them. That’s wrong, Here I am a small business person in this country trying to make ends meet and aint looking for no hand out from no one, plus trying to keep four other persons employed, so they don’t have to depend on the government for any assistance. Laing who has the money and could afford to pay custom don’t want pay them, so how is that suppose to make me feel? I mean, I hear people talking all the time on the plane while completing their custom forms and saying what all they including and aint including on the form. When I hear them taking their time to rob the government all I is say to myself is how petty. while I don’t agree with what they are doing, if people like Laing who has the money trying to get away with it , what you expect for them to do? I don’t reduce no invoice, what ever custom charge me even though it is put a dent in my pocket, I go to the window and pay it. People is call me stupid all the time for putting the truth on those custom forms, it just that I believe you should “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Laing ought to be ashamed of himself and the Prime Minister for not holding him accountable.

  6. LOL Awakened in fact Miss Universe 2009 is coming to The Bahamas this week for Michelles’ pageant opening ceremonies. Though the rumors are spreading its not a shut close deal as yet. I would love to see Miss Universe here again with a VERY GOOD MISS BAHAMAS representative this year compared to last year.

  7. Sounds interesting Truth, but I didn’t hear that, but what did we get from it the first time, maybe they like us because we are a dump trucks, we get nothing, give away everything, set aside showcasing our culture, so on and so one, again, what benefits, have you seen from it?, what about Carifesta?, why do we always decline that, I say No decline it, ya’ll like getting goosey eh!?, I don’t.

  8. He should be very cautious. I question is credentials he claims he a ECONOMIST but lol anyways i doubt that.  He’s very arrogant and not a nice person at all. Other than that this might be off the TOPIC but do you guys Know that Miss Universe 2010 are considering THE BAHAMAS AGAIN to host the pageant. I know numerous people bashed Tourism officials about Miss Universe but for them to reconsider us again that says it all. Yal want Tourism to decline the event again?

    • @ truth he is not even finished his degree economist my foot he was also claiming to be a pastor haha youll forgot he dsh back to join the government @ Bp Ceorge Washington University was the school check the facts the man has not completed who pray tell did he study under to earn such a title economist?

  9. Altec & Diehard, well said, and you also said BFS don’t pay, good words, but you know that’s not going to happen, because the crooks will make sure they pay if they have to use their own money to keep this garbage from going to court, the governing party has the media in their back pocket, so this isn’t going to go any further, these guys have no shame, someone needs to grow a pair, and start locking up these criminals, remember the Attorney General is the people’s lawyer and he works for us, not the politicians.

  10. Altec let me take this further for you and show just how crooked some people are in this country.  Mona Vie is not even a juice.  It is a cocktail supposed health product but which has no official health / government backing.  Therefore, how does one classify it as juice and change the law?  I drink Ocean Spray Products and the reason they would be classified as juice is bcos they are made pretty much from juice concentrate rather high fructose etc.  In short, Laing overstepped his powers by reclassifying Mona Vie.  I would like to see a letter from Bahamas Customs confirming World Customs or any other reputable organization for that matter, saying that Mona Vie is 100% fruit juice…u will never see that…the preacher and politician is simply just like all other bahamian politicians – a greedy conceited trickster – don’t pay BFS!!!  

  11. Awakened, i know we agree but its not just Laing and his family that needs to pay their balance. All Bahamian companies and families who brought in beverages and were charged the 10% rate instead of the 60% rate from 2007 should be expecting a letter from customs seeking payment of the outstanding amounts owed. 

    And therein lies the problem! Do you really think the government wants to deal with the questions surrounding this obvious blunder?

    I just think the government is wrong to go after companies and individuals for the balance when their junior minister of finance, acting on behalf of the government, changed the rate to 10%.

    Like i said, if I were BFS i would take Customs to court and the first person i would call in my defense would be the Junior Minister of Finance!

  12. Al, we are definitely on the same page and I must agree with you, so then Laing and his family needs to be dealt with, I’m sure there are others, but we have got to make all of them pay, the government needs to get it’s Ministers in hand, PAPA seems to be losing control.

  13. Awakened, my point was that you cant blame BFS for attempting to do what Laing and his family did with the Mona Vie products. The same 10% tax that was applied to BFS beverages, was applied to Laing’s Mona Vie beverages. If BFS has to pay it back, then so does Laing.

    If the government is going to drag people before the courts, they cant be selective. Whats good for the goose should be good for the gander. The government is obviously practicing selective justice.

  14. Altec, if BFS is paying already, it has then been determine by them and Customs that they are wrong, in BP’s other article on BFS owing Customs, it seems that they paid $5,000.00, their first payment, but I am sure there is so much more to this story, these guys are down right thieves & crooks, they come in with nothing and leave as millionaires, they rob the kitty blind, so that even if the next government goes in, they have to get to the business of getting the country back on track, instead of being able to investigate these scums, these guys need jail.

  15. $119,275.97!  You know how much salaries this could pay for one month!  And to think my 19 year old son is at home trying so hard to get a job and the only answer he’s getting is “Gov’t aint’ hiring”  Man I so vex!

  16. Hmmm, so BFS should have been taxed at 60% instead of 10%.  But i dont think BFS is wrong. If what you say it true that Mr Laing illegally reclassified items, then you cant blame BFS for the governments error.

    IF the reclassification was wrong by BFS, then i would have to assume that Mr Laing and his family owe Customs an extra 50% in duties seeing that they only paid 10% on their Mona Vie drinks. So why isnt Customs going after the Laing clan as well? (Rhetorical question)

    I dont blame BFS for non payment. If Laing and his family are able to get away with defrauding the government, then so should everyone else.

    Its Laing who is between a rock and a hard place. If this goes to court then his illegal actions is exposed because either Laing’s reclassification was legal or not. BFS is implying that it was (for obvious reasons) and i am inclined to agree with them.

    Dont pay BFS, let Customs take you to court, lol and expose Laing.

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