The Rich Get Richer
Basseterre, St.Kitts – Nevis
People’s Action Movement
October 01, 2011
The ruling St.Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Government has made the most bizarre move in the Parliament on Thursday as Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas moved a Bill to reduce the Tax paid by wealthy vendors of land in the South East Peninsula area.
The South East Peninsula was opened up by a PAM administration led by Dr. The Right Honourable Sir Kennedy Alphonse Simmonds in 1989.
The Hon. Shawn Richards and Hon. Vincent Byron made contributions to the bill pointing out that providing incentives to land owners on the South East Peninsula without consideration of incentives to the poor who are hurting in these tough economic times is heartless.
Richards, who is the youngest member of Parliament, called for a reduction of the rate of the VAT which stands at 17%, as well as a reduction of the level of unit cost of Electricity, as a means to help the poor before consideration be given to reduce taxes for wealthy landowners on the exclusive Southeast Peninsula.
“It was in the Budget address of the Prime Minister that he pledged to use $12million dollars of our hard-earned taxes to repair the Dr. Kennedy Simmonds Highway that is serving the South East Peninsula. What is therefore troubling is that while the road is being damaged by the heavy equipment used by the developers who continue to employ fewer and fewer local workers, Government increases taxes on the poor to be used to repair the road while at the same time comes now with this bill to reduce the level of taxes that the developers are required to pay and Douglas in the same breath claims to be working for the poor,” said the People’s Action Movement Deputy Leader.
Richards continued “The South East Developments are soon expected to be on our electricity grid. If these incentives are being effected for South East development should not Dr. Douglas also provide incentives for the Social Security Board that has been forced to take on a project of development with the resources of poor people? Is not that development that appears to be struggling and that appears to be destined to lose millions for untold reasons deserving of an incentive?”
“I find absolutely no justification for this government to table a bill which seeks to make life easier for rich landowners on the peninsular while poor people in this country receives no such relief as they are forced to struggle with a 17% VAT and increased cost of living, electricity etc. It is interesting to note that Prime Minister and the Minister of Tourism are landowners on the peninsula so one could take from that for what it is,” Hon Richards opined.
Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas introduced the Bill as the Minister of Finance. The bill seeks to reduce the Stamp duty on land transactions at the South East Peninsula to 12% from 18% as a result of the Stamps (Amendment) Bill 2011.