Camillo Gonsalves of the ruling Unity Labour Party and then NDP chair, Dr. Linton Lewis at an event in Kingstown in October 2015. (IWN photo)

Minister of Finance Camillo Gonsalves has admitted to Parliament that he first got the idea of a climate contingency fund from former opposition senator, Linton Lewis, whom he defeated in 2015 to become Member of Parliament for East St. George.

Gonsalves also told Parliament that he had rubbished the idea, which his government went on to implement.

The Contingency Fund was introduced in 2016 and was capitalised by one percentage point of the Value Added Tax, which moved from 15 to 16 per cent.

Speaking during the debate on the Climate Resilience Bill, which was passed into law on Thursday, Gonsalves said that the government has populated and continue to populate a contingency fund.

“I recall — if I am being honest, the first time I heard the contingency fund mooted in this house was by the then honourable Senator Lewis.

“Linton Lewis raised the matter and said, look, we have all of these problems maybe we should have a contingency fund. And I would admit, as well, that I poo-pooed the idea at the time,” Gonsalves said.

“Because I said the magnitude of this problem is greater than anything that we could raise ourselves. But the central wisdom of his point was that we would always have need for resources immediately and we have to respond immediately.”

He noted that said the contingency fund was started by increasing VAT by one percentage point.

He said the International Monetary Fund commended the government for the move but said more needed to be done.

“The IMF said the government should increase resources for the Contingency Fund and implement initiatives to build resilience against natural disasters. The authorities have earmarked revenue for the contingency fund – which is the 1 per cent on VAT, but resources are insufficient.”

Gonsalves said the government could not add another percentage point on VAT.

“Because then people would bawl and say, ‘What a wickedness! Last year, they put on a one per cent, now this year, they put on another one per cent.’

“No. We looked around the world, we looked around the region, we say ‘How else can we populate this contingency fund?’”

The finance minister said one of the ways is the environmental levy.

10 replies on “Climate contingency fund was Linton Lewis’ idea — Camillo”

  1. Tummy rot Leon!

    The best way to procure funds is to grow the SVG economy, not add more Taxes to it!

    The more they squeeze us, the smaller this SVG economy will get, destroying jobs and businesses in the process. Where is his proposal for Jobs creation other than Ganja?

    1. Stop being intelligent! You may infect the “shoeless and clueless”. If such policy thinking ever gets wide-spread in SVG we may get as prosperous as Singapore. The local “powers” do not want that now.
      The truth is that the constitution demands a contingency fund, it is just that DREGs spent it all long ago. Because they are unable to manage the accounts, they have to continue to invent new taxes to get more money out of an ever-weakening economy.

  2. Calliaquaman says:

    Credit

    Sir your comments about genuineness and maturity of this Lad is false advertising this only done for polical cover and expediency. Many programs started by for Government (NDP) which they finished and did gave credit for.

    Computer to give to school children was NDP policy no credits.

    SVG College no credit.

    The feadfeasibity studies of International Airport in SVG by NDP no credits. These are samples.

    So don’t use my Calliaquaman Linton Lewis as your scapegoat polical, and now recognizing that they (NDP) had better ideas and policies. Never to late !

    1. At least in his political career, Linton Lewis is not anyone I would want to emulate. Although a certain big politician did poorly in his academic days, and Linton Lewis criticized him, that politician was a far more successful lawyer than Lewis. The Boy Wonder may just be trying to further bring Lewis over to the ULP after he took sides with the ULP in the no-confidence vote. Some in the ULP love to “turn” former NDP. It alleviates their inferiority complex they have from doing such a terrible job of governing the country and destroying the economy and infrastructure.

  3. Camillo Gonsalves can share mirth with Linton Lewis but it is us Vincentians on whom the joke and amusement is on!

    If we want to see an example of how an economy can be wrecked through mismanagement and high Taxes, just take a little look at what the Gonsalves buddy, Nicolás Maduro has done in Venezuela.

    https://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/features/life-crisis-diary-venezuelan-journalist-180327150648624.html

    How many here will be sucking salt before we understand that high Taxes destroys businesses and jobs!

    1. I pleases me to see that James H has a very good understanding of economics. It is up to people like us to at least attempt to teach the present government how to grow the economy instead of destroying it. You mentioned Venezuela. That government is so very terrible that it is the most resource-rich country on earth but yet the almost the poorest country on earth. Singapore has practically no resources and is the wealthiest nation on earth. It shows IN THE EXTREME the difference between good government and bad government. Singapore has its drawbacks but economics is not one of them.
      Soon, when no one will loan us money anymore, Saint Vincent will be down with Haiti and Venezuela.

  4. I am surprised at Linton wanting to be anywhere near the dynasty mulatto. When Linton was running for office the ULP and some dynasty members made up nasty rumours about him and did their best to destroy him.

    Dr Linton Lewis holds a PhD in law whereas DREGs holds a PhD in road potholes, he is an educated dunce compared with Lynton. The boy is a million miles behind him intellectually being unable to talk about his private life without daddies permission.

    I am really surprised that Linton would lower himself to even be photographed in such a position with such a person.

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