In an article in THE VINCENTIAN newspaper of Friday 12th February 2021, it was stated that there will be a one percent increase on the Customs Service Charge this year, with the revenue generated expected to assist in the financing of regional organisations, such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency. This moves the tariff from 5 to 6 percent.
SVG Green Party Leader, Warrant Officer Ivan Bertie O’Neal BSc (Hons), MSc, MBA, contends that SVG is the South Africa of the Caribbean. Apartheid exists in SVG, as the black, poor and powerless indigenous population is forced to pay tax and customs duties, but the super-rich, white migrant millionaires of Mustique and Canouan are granted tax and customs duty exemptions worth millions of dollars a year.
The ULP regime is whipping Vincentians with high amounts of tax. This is yet another nail in the coffin for many people. If there is a need to assist in the financing of regional organisations such as the Caribbean Public Health Agency, then the ULP regime should tax the super-rich, white migrant millionaires of Mustique and Canouan. The ULP regime is trampling on Section 13 of SVG 1979 Constitution.
Abolishing the tax and customs duty exemptions given to Mustique and Canouan will bring the SVG Treasury over $500 million every year in revenue.
The opportunity cost of not collecting this $500 million dollars is staggering. We could build three science and technology universities, create mass employment, put a science lab in every school, provide free wireless internet to every house and positively change the academic landscape of our beloved country, by making high quality education the engine of the SVG economy.
Many poor households cannot afford to send their children to school and are forced to beg for a bowl of food. We should all be concerned that some children in SVG may be suffering from malnutrition, because they only get one small meal a day.
Gonsalves must be confused when it comes to finance: there is no net benefit of these tax exemptions given to the super-rich, migrant millionaires of Mustique and Canouan, and the costs – malnutrition, children dropping out of school, mass unemployment and the disadvantaged being forced to sleep on pavements – are nothing but oppression. The equation clearly does not balance.
This rather stupid impediment must be removed from our country, so that we can competently move forward as a nation. White migrants in Mustique and Canouan who continue to refuse to pay tax and customs duty should be deported as soon as possible.
A Green Government would end the blood-sucking by the super-rich in Mustique and Canouan, by abolishing the Mustique Act and the Canouan Act. Those who are advantageously placed aid by Gonsalves, destroy the dreams of our young people.
These differential laws and policies that perpetuate apartheid in SVG must be abolished. The Mustique Act No 48 of 2002 is discriminatory. Mustique and Canouan are major obstacles to the sustainable development of SVG.
Our country needs a new direction in order to build a strong economy and create mass employment for our people. Only then, will there be prosperity for all.
The one percent increase on the Customs Service Charge, moving the tariff from 5 to 6 percent, is unfair and unreasonable. Tax the super-rich instead, not the poor!