“The Denzil Douglas led Administration continues to demonstrate that it has lost touch with the feelings of the common man,” says Hamilton. “Taxes continue to be introduced and increased at alarming rates. In November 2010 the VAT was introduced at 17%. In February of 2011 electricity rates were increased by 85% and the latest is that Departure Tax will be increased by 100% by July 2011. This is outrageous and people are suffering and the government seems not to have a hint as to the hardships poor people are facing due to the plethora of new and raised taxes,” Hamilton continued.
Hamilton is of the view that residents of the Federation are outraged after being asked to make further adjustments due to yet another increase in taxes.
In a recent parliamentary sitting, the Minister of Tourism Mr. Richard Skerritt moved to have passed, the necessary legislation to effect the tax increase in the form of amendments to the Island Enhancement Fund and the St. Christopher Air and Sea Ports Authority Act.
Under the new tax system, incoming passengers would continue to pay an existing Passenger Facilitation charge of US $10 while outgoing passengers will be subject to the following increased taxes:-Security Service Charge – US $5.33 (an increase of US $3.49); Island Enhancement Fund – US $12.00 (an increase of US $10.50); and Environmental Levy – US $3.00 (an increase of $1.50). Airport Service Charge of US $16.67 remains unchanged.
This increase in Departure Tax will for the first time see children, from the age of 2 years, up to 12, paying EC$100.
The PAM Deputy leader is also making the case that the possibility exists for the laying off of those working directly with collection of such taxes, given that the levies will now be collected overseas by the Trinidad based branch of IATA.
MP Hamilton continued “The strategy of taxing more and more is not working. The national debt continues to rise and the people of the Federation see no relief comfort after paying significantly more in taxes. The People’s Action Movement will put in place prudent and appropriate measures particularly in the control of Government spending and a decrease in the cost of living.
The PAM official says that “It is time for the present administration to step down before the situation gets worse. We need good governance.