Customs Commissioner, Major Richard Reese recently announced that the Customs Department will be collecting taxes on the import of human hair weaves. According to recent reports, weave imports have reached JM$1 billion and now the government wants a bigger piece of the pie. Boardlane TV took to the streets to find out how local hairdressers and customers feel about the imposed tax on this commodity.

Boardlane TV: Hi folks, I am in the middle of a street corner “salon” located on Princess Street in downtown, Kingston. This corner is bustling with folks having hear extensions done and we are eager to get their feedback on the weave tax that is about to affect them. We have someone here who wants to weigh in. Go ahead, miss.

Pinkey: (Lips pouted) Hello! Mi is a hair bootichian fi ova 15 years now an mi neva have been seen such sheggries like dis yet! I doan know why di jancrow dem noh hop affa poor people! Wi already a pay tax pan di spritz dem. Wah more dem waan? Wan bakkle a spritz a fi $450 dalla plus tax. Den silva glitta is aneda $250 plus tax. When mi dun pay fi all a dat now, mi cyaan even afford a backle a hair aile fi grease dung di people dem dry head. Di set a jancrow dem out fi kill wi aff wid tax!

Boardlane TV: So do you think this is unfair? Is the government taking advantage of the upsurge of weaves in the country?

Pinkey: Of course di parasite dem a tek libatty wid wi! Di weave dem tax before dem lef China and as dem reach a airport dem tax dem again. Den when dem put dem pan truck, dem put aan highway tax pan dem again. Fi tek dem affa di truck a di warehouse ..dem tax it backside again. Kiss mi toe nail bway! Fram a bawn a neva si such wikidness!

Boardlane TV: Oh my! You seems to be up-to-date on all sorts of imaginary tax. Thanks for chatting with me. (Moves to another section) Hi Miss, I see you are getting a fancy do. Are you concerned that such a hair-style will one day be too expensive for you to get?

Perline: Well lady, yuh noh know how it goh. Welcome to land of wood, water an weaves. A yah soh poor people money spend.  If a di laas lickle money wi have, it haffi spen pan wi hair, clothes an finganail.

Boardlane TV: So your priority will always be your hair no matter what it cost?

Perline: It noh matta mi weh dem waan tax, enoh lady. All mi do, if push come to shove di hair can wash an dry pan clothes line an re-use til every strawn a hair drop outta di track. Mi noh cyaah, becausen seh my hair haffi look bash pan a certain level. Long, curly an pretty-pretty, yuh si mi?

Boardlane TV: Very interesting. (Speaking to the hairdresser ) So do you agree with your client that the tax will not affect you and your business, young lady?

Munchie: (Busy sewing in weave) Baby doll, govament luckia dan mi yaah. Dem naah stap my progress caah everybody a wear weave. A it a di in ting like Tessanne Chin. Trus mi! Dem fi portian out di tax dem prappa dowe. Some  a di pack dem come wid stringy-stringy hair weh cyaan siddung pan people head right an prappa! Is a sin fi pay tax pan dem deh bad-breed hair deh.

Boardlane TV: (Interjects) I am sure you do not expect the government to spend time to decipher what is quality hair from what is not – right?

Munchie: (Still busy sewing in weave) How yuh mean?!  If dem ago demands dat we pay more tax, wi a demand dat dem sen good hair come gi wi. All Portia she, shi betta come dung yah come mek mi put wan sensible weave inna har head. Di tiyad bang shi have fram 1972 waan upgrade. (Grabbing the Mike) Portia come dung a Princess street an ask fi Munchie, yuh hear? A me do Macka Diamond hair fi Sting. Aldowe shi did flop out, har hair style did slap weh!

Boardlane TV: (Laughs) Ok ladies, thanks for your comments. I would love to hear from a male. Which one of you gentleman would like to comment on the weave tax?

Richie: (Raise his hands) Mi have something fi seh, sistren. Mi noh stap seh, oh what a web dem a weave when dem practice fi deceive wi!  Why dese women woan grow wah already deh pan dem head? A dat a baffle mi to bombawt!

Perline: (Shouts angrily) Shut up yuh blasted mout! Weh yuh noh practice fi comb yuh blinking head weh tough like dem blasted steel wool weh can scowa pot!

Richie: (Argues back) At least a fi mi head dis a grow fram di root straight to di stem! Di govament fi charge yuh tax fi a walk roun wid dat deh vampire face to. Yuh dyam face full a more dent dan di cyar dem a junk yaad to rahtid. Tek weh yuhself gyal!

Boardlane TV: (Signals) OK, OK! You are live on TV. Please stop the fussing and continue your remarks to our viewers. You were saying?

Richie: Yes, sistren. Sarry! Mi was a seh dat if dem neva did a hitch aan soh much false hair pan dem head govament wudden have weave fi tax. A dem put dat pan dem head – literally and figarately! Dem fi knot up dem head like rasta an get back in touch wid dem roots.

Perline: (Still arguing) Nobadddy noh waan dem head full a lice like fi yuh! Look like dat deh head noh wash fram yuh come outta yuh mumma belly! Gweh dutty bway!

Boardlane TV: (Alarmed) Oh sweet Jesus! Sir, you can go now. Thanks for the comments. Is there anyone else in favor of the tax who would like to speak on camera?

Maxine: (Steps forward) Well, I have to say I agree wid di tax. Mi noh too pree di weave ting caah mi try it wan time an mi head scratch out mi daylight whole day soh til mi haffi tear ie aff. But mi sista dem love it! If dem can tax hanbag, jewelry an odda accessories, dem can tax hair to.

Boardlane TV:  So you are saying that hair weaves should be classified as an accessory?

Maxine: (Nods) Yes, yes, yes! My sista dem wear dem like any accessory! Dem noh goh noh weh widdout it. Dem all have wig fi every day a di week inna all sorta color. Weh di govament fi tax to a di blasted bat lash weh dem put pan dem yeye to. Mi a defen taxing false anyting!  All di fake Rasta dem fi get tax to. Some a dem have aan di natty locks but dem naah deal wid Rasta principles. A nyam up di Trenton like it a goh outta style. Yes, a wi seh tax fi tun up pan all falsity! Chat bout!

Boardlane TV: I hear you. Tax, tax and more tax! Well, folks you heard what the people had to say. It appears some folks will have to hold on tight to their extensions and wigs, because weave taxes are coming in with gale force wind speed. This is Wendy reporting live from Princess Street. Now back to the studios.


© Written by Joelle C. Wright  January 14th, 2014

Books by the author:

A Soh Wi Do It!

A Soh It Goh!

A Soh Dem Gwaan!”

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