Minister of Finance, Camillo Gonsalves, has defended the new tax to be imposed on hotel rooms effective June 1.
Parliament on Thursday passed a law that will see hotel occupants paying US$3 per room for the first 30 nights of their stay.
The Climate Resilience Levy will go to the Contingency Fund, to help St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) respond to and mitigate against the effect of climate change, the minister said.
He said the climate levy is not a novel concept and was not created in SVG, adding that such a level exists in the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands (BVI), Aruba, and Trinidad and Tobago, which, he said, charges 0.3 per cent on all corporate revenue for what is called a Green Fund Levy.
In the Unites States Virgin Islands, the minister said, the charge is levied on hotels and condos.
St. Kitts and Nevis, the Seychelles, Mexico, Malta, and Spain also have similar levies, Gonsalves told Parliament.
“All of them have environmental levies and more, Mr. Speaker,” he said, adding that some of these countries apply the tax at the airport.
e said that in the BVI, every person who enters the country has to pay US$10 at the airport as an environment charge.
“That’s one way to do it.”
He said that Fiji has “a maximalist view”, charging 6 per cent as an environmental levy “on almost everything — accommodation, rental car, restaurant, night club, taxi, chartered flights, water sports.
“The honourable prime minister reigned me in. He said, ‘That is a bit much, but we can start with the accommodation’,” the finance minister told Parliament.
He said another question the government considered was whether the levy should be charged on a room or a person or at a flat rate.
Another question was whether it should be collected at the hotel or at the airport.
He said Barbados, St. Lucia and Grenada charge an environmental levy on every item entering the port.
Kingstown, in consultation with tourism stakeholders, decided to apply it as a US$3 per night per room, Gonsalves told lawmakers.
All those places mentioned are established tourist destinations and who tourist spending 30 days in a country the most is a week to 2 weeks maybe he can keep it but lower the price under $3 .
The levy may not be a novel concept but what is novel in this is SVG itself. We are among the poorest of the poor and are among the least developed tourist sector there is, through their past neglect.
This guy needs to compare like with like, when he tries to compare the Cayman Islands, the British Virgin Islands (BVI) and Aruba, or even Trinidad and Tobago with us.
What a profound difference we make with them! Just what on earth do we have in common with the Seychelles, Malt or even Spain, which are already highly developed Tourist destinations?
This whippersnapper should understand that, we need to be reducing Taxes here in SVG, in order to stimulate and encourage visitors and while we are at it, clean up the place, not increase Taxes that has the effect of killing growth while destroying the few jobs that remain here!
There again, what does Camillo Gonsalves know, as he takes over the running of our dead economy, that his father has already ruined through his Tax and Beg policies!
Very wise James H. If I were trying to chose a destination to vacation I would not want to go to a place that is less-tourist friendly and pay more money for it besides. If I traveled regularly I would seek a place that has the best value for the money. Our government does not seem to understand how people or investors think. They believe that everyone on earth wants to come to SVG and pay more money for it.
The boy’s is damaged and whatever he says cannot be relied upon as his own words, they are most likely the words of his fathers. Because his father simply uses the boy as a puppet and controls when he can speak and on what subject. Evidence can be found in the boys disgraceful behaviour in New York when he made a diplomatic blunder with a diplomatic protection NYPD police officer, his father spoke for him. Then again when his father ordered him silent in the Yuggi Farrell affair. The boys opinions are little more than those of his father.
The cost of living for the people of St Vincent is very high, groceries should be at a reasonable cost given what these people earn a week. I was told this can be $125-$150 per week. Of all the Caribbean Islands I have visited St Vincent is the least develop of all. Its not a place that is attracting much tourist, the nonsense that this boy is talking about will for sure hinder the flow of visitors and therefore, cost many people in the hotel industry their jobs. But again privileged Camillo don’t know what it feels like not to be able to provide for his family. How can he compare other tourism develop countries with St Vincent. There are so many talented, smart and educated young people there with no jobs, They should all get together rise up and form their own party, called The People Party. And get rid of Papa, his son and all the other fools trolling behind them. The boy is only concern about lining his own pocket… talking about Green Fund LEVY.. what a JOKE.
The cost of living in SVG is because the ULP government over tax with duties and VAT at the time of importation of food stuffs. They have gone beyond fair taxation to that of plundering the peoples pockets.
Why don’t you peep in your dam bowl. Judgemental and never set foot on our soil, but you have a lot to say. Take care of your business and stay out of ours. I’m sick of you guys pretending you know so much when in fact you know nothing.
What Evie said is true and you know it but people like you are content to see us rot away and die. Have you ever been out of SVG? I doubt it. Because you know nothing.
Well I’m Vincy and sure seem to have your head up somebody’s butt, because you seem. If they are not speaking facts then by all means correct them but if what they are saying have some merit then it does not matter where the person is from. We in Vincy speak on matter related to other people, especially the U.S. Do yo want the U.S. and other people to tell you butt out? Stop being so close minded.
James H, why don’t you consider a run for the NDP? When the NDP takes office, you’ll stop the crying. Everything will be nice, don’t have to worry about anything. We are the poorest now, overnight we’ll amass lots wealth.
Observer, you should ask yourself why we Vincentians are so poor. If you have a problem with James H, why do you attack him and not his message? All that he says is true, unlike lies and exagerations we hear from the government. Where are the millions of tourists we are supposed to have immediately after the airport was constructed. When Gonsalves ran for reelection his biggest priority (number 1) was thousands of jobs. That was years ago. Where are the jobs? He also promised to repair all roads more than has ever been done in SVG history. When is that going to happen? As long as he continues to increase taxes, we get further and further away from his “promises”. Apparently our PM does not know what he is doing…or does he? Maybe he wants to make SVG like Venezuela. James H wants SVG to be a better place, many Vincentians want to keep it going into poverty, What do you want?
So now this is about party? Put your country before your party. And don’t get it twisted, the most development SVG has ever seen is under and NDP administration, period!
Look here our foolish Observer, my redshirted compatriot, if you do not understand that high taxes will bring about reduced circumstances for us all, bring us to further penury, deters investment, destroy jobs, reduces the nation to even more extreme poverty, beggary and privation, just look at what is happening in Venezuela today.
Their Governmental regime is very much like our own. Indeed, the two dictatorships are truly joined at the hips. Our peoples and their hardships are very much linked, because both leaderships share the same outdated and unworkable ideology that brings with it nothing but grief.
What a shame that you and others here cannot see that! Well unlike you Observer, the Venezuelans who are able to run, are now voting with their feet to the nearest border they could find, at the rate of over Forty-Seven thousand a day, to Colombia alone.
Here is some advice for you our dear foolish Observer! First get an understanding of the Economic term Supply and Demand. Then visit the Seychelles or Malt or Spain and there you will see, what real Tourism is all about.
Perhaps then you will understand why they, if they do, can tax their visitors and get away with it and why we for our part, will only be deterring investments while destroying much needed jobs in the process.
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