President of the Public Service Union (PSU), Elroy Boucher says he hopes that the Unity Labour Party administration can come up with measures to relieve the tax burden on Vincentians.
And, he is endorsing a citizenship by investment (CIB) programme, a policy on which the government and the main opposition New Democratic Party is divided.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines remains the only independent Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States country without a formal CIB programme.
The Ralph Gonsalves administration, which opposes the programme, says it amounts to selling passports.
The main opposition New Democratic Party, however, supports the programme, saying that it can help to fund a significant chunk of the national budget.
Boucher voiced his support for CBI programme in SVG at a PSU press conference on Wednesday.
“… I’ve heard the opposition put forward the suggestion that the government can make use of the citizenship by investment programme. And I just can’t understand the reluctance to get involved. Every OECS country is using this programme and it is financing a great part of their budget,” Boucher said.
“St. Kitts is the leader, I think, in this regard. It is financing a great part of their budget. This programme has allowed these governments to lower the taxes on their people.”
Boucher said he is “mind-boggled” by the ULP’s stance on CBI.
“ … we elect you to govern and govern in a responsible way to make our living conditions better.”
He anticipated the arguments “about passport and passport”
“St. Kitts has been voted the least corrupt country within CARICOM. The least corrupt and they are running this programme,” Boucher said.
The union leader said that instead of taking the advice of the opposition, the government “would rather find ways of taxing workers, the citizens.
“And I am of the view that a responsible government needs to listen to all of the ideas and see how best they can put policies in place to relieve the burden, the financial burden of workers and their families.”
In its “People’s Budget” response to the national budget in January, the opposition restated its support for a CBI programme.