The main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) says it will respond next week to the EC$912.9 million Budget that Parliament approved this week during a session that NDP lawmakers did not attend as part of an on-going protest.
The NDP’s responses will come on Monday and Tuesday during sessions at Frenches House, beginning 4:45 p.m. each day.
In a statement on Thursday, the NDP said all its Parliamentarians who boycotted Parliament “in our on-going show of defiance of the lack of proper governance in this country, will make formal responses to the budget and put forward counter proposals as part of our growth agenda”.
The NDP, which rejects the Ralph Gonsalves administration as illegitimate, described itself as “ the people’s genuine alternative for growth and development”.
Parliament has approved the Budget EC$912.9 million, which includes a current account deficit of EC$11.9 million.
In the Budget, Gonsalves, who is also Minister of Finance, announced increases in several taxes as well as a new 2 per cent tax on cellphone calls.
The new tax on cellphone calls is in addition to increases in property tax on commercial buildings, driver’s licenses, gun licenses, and the introduction of Value-Added Tax on a number of items, including chicken, lentil, salt, butter, yeast and baking powder.
He said that to widen the tax base and improve buoyancy, his government will introduce value-added tax on packaged rice for retail sale; table and cooking butter; and brown sugar; and whole chicken and chicken parts, except chicken back, neck and wings.
Some VAT-exempted will be made taxable, namely lentil and pigeon peas; cooking oil, except coconut oil; shortenings; salt; yeast; and baking powder.
“The NDP believes there are better ways of fiscal management, including cutting back wastage and corruption; instituting economic-sustainable projects and targeted investments in the productive sectors, that could avoid the new set of increased taxes that we see on the already overburdened population,” the party said in the statement.
It said there are countless studies that have shown that increasing the tax burden over a certain threshold is counterproductive to growth.
“… we believe that St Vincent and the Grenadines has now crossed that threshold under the failed policies of Ralph Gonsalves,” the NDP said, adding that those ideas will be explored at “the special People’s Public Budgetary Session” next Monday and Tuesday.
“The general public is specially invited to participate in the sessions at Frenches House in Kingstown. The business community, farmers, traders and other sectors are particularly invited,” the NDP said, adding that attendees will get the chance to ask questions of all of the representatives.
The sessions on both days will be chaired by Monty Maule, a businessman, lay preacher and former Speaker of the Houses of Parliament.
POPPY SHOW OPPOSITION.
THEY SAY THEY NOT GOING TO BE SWORN IN, THEN REALITY HIT THEM IN THE FORM OF SAGE ADVICE FROM CAMPBELL; SHAMEFACEDLY, THEY CRAWL TO PARLIAMENT TO BE SWORN IN.
THEY SAY THEY NOT GOING TO PARLIAMENT BUT THE ISSUES COMING FAST AND FURIOUS AND SO THEY WANT TO RESPOND BUT SHAME HAVE THEM IN A TIGHT SPOT. IN THEIR DESPERATION, THEY CALLING PRESS CONFERENCE IN AN ATTEMPT TO GET THEIR RESPONSE OUT TO THE PUBLIC ON THE SAID ISSUES. POPPY SHOW.
THEY SAY THEY PROTESTING THE ELECTIONS. THE PROTEST TURN INTO A ROUND- THE-CLOCK GOAT COOK WITH THE PATCHES KNIGHTS, LUZETTE KING AND SAPPIE POPPY SHOW TAKING CENTER STAGE.
POPPY SHOW POPPY SHOW. THE NDP IS A FAILED PARTY. OPPOSITIONS AROUND THE REGION REMOVING THE INCUMBENT LEFT RIGHT AND CENTER…DON’T BLAME RALPH GONSALVES. BLAME THE NDP FOR BEING AN INEPT OPPOSITION.
All this bellyaching about VAT is all specious and nonsensical. How long has it been since VAT was introduced in Vincyland? Unless the NDP HAD INTENTIONS OF REMOVING VAT COMPLETELY, THEY NEED TO PUT UP THEIR DISCOURSE. VAT IS A FACT OF LIFE IN VINCYLAND. Now, we all upset that no VAT on chicken back? Really people?
Don’t worry, Ralph will get around to putting tax on chicken back too. What he won’t tax are the super-wealthy on Mustique because they are the ones that give him the most money for elections and such.
Ralph is a product of the many terrible and irresponsible leaders in the world today that believe in socialist, Keynesian Economics; which believes it is possible to spend, borrow, and tax a country into prosperity.
Kenton, not sure why you always refer to the NDP as the “main” opposition, unless you are also referring to NGO’s and special-interest groups opposed to ULP policies or personnel.
Certainly the Green Party and Democratic Republican (or is it Republican Democratic) Party hardly qualify as opposition parties since they have no significant following and can truly be called One-Man and One-Women parties!
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