The Government of Saint Lucia calls on the Opposition United Workers Party and in particular, Hon. Guy Joseph, the Parliamentary Representative for Castries South East, to refrain from spreading untruths about the Value Added Tax and its perceived impact on goods and services.
During the session of the House of Assembly held yesterday, Tuesday, October 23, 2012, the Opposition made a number of claims on the items on which the VAT was levied in effort to paint a picture of an insensitive and uncaring Government.
Parliamentary Representative for Castries South East, Hon. Guy Joseph, stated that VAT had been levied on school books, raising concerns about the effect of such a decision on the quality of education under the tax regime.
The Government of Saint Lucia wishes to state categorically that there is no VAT on school books and education services and other supplies. As is clearly defined in the Value Added Tax Act (2012), Education Services means “tuition or instruction for students provided by an institution duly recognized by the Ministry of Education pursuant to the Education Act, Cap 18.01, whether public, private, assisted or denominational”, while Education Supplies means “a supply of printed material as defined under the Customs Tariff Heading 49.01-49.05.”
The statement by Hon. Guy Joseph followed earlier statements by him at a public meeting of the United Workers Party, that there was VAT on Insurance Premiums and on services provided by minibus drivers. Both statements were equally false.
The Government of Saint Lucia urges the Opposition to be more responsible in the dissemination of information to the public. It is part of their duty as leaders to educate and to respect the truth even when it is tempting to do otherwise. It is the duty of Hon Guy Joseph and indeed every parliamentarian not to mislead the nation on the effect of laws enacted by the Parliament of Saint Lucia.