Castries South-East Member of Parliament Guy Joseph has accused government for causing severe hardship to many Saint Lucians and said this is mainly due to the steady increase in taxes.
Joseph made this statement at a press conference yesterday. The UWP politician said the implementation of new taxes will only create more chaos in an already troubling economy.
Joseph pointed to the new tariffs, which will come into effect soon at the Customs and Excise Department. The price of certain goods will be increased in some instances by up to 7 per cent.
“Who is catering for the average St Lucian out there, while this government goes about their merry way increasing everything they possibly can,” Joseph questioned?
Joseph said locals not only have to endure a 15 per cent VAT , but a new tariff implementation. This he said will have a negative impact on citizens’ island wide and is a major cause of concern.
The UWP MP also pointed to the high fuel prices, as one of the other issue affecting Saint Lucians.
He recalled when the UWP was in government, fuel was US$147 per barrel and the price for fuel at the pumps was only EC$12.75.
Joseph said there is no longer subsidies for fuel and the changes in fuel prices internationally are not reflected in St. Lucia.
He believes that the three months system of implementing fuel prices is of no benefit to locals.
“Why did they move the fuel pass through from every month to every three months?” he questioned.
He said during the last time fuel had gone down from US$107 to about US$80 per barrel, when the last review pass through mechanism was implemented.
“Why is no relief being brought to the various business sectors in Saint Lucia, as far as the price of fuel is concerned?” he further questioned.
Joseph reminded that the next price adjustment is slated for January of 2015 and said all of this time the government will be collecting excessive revenue.
“Who is bringing relief to the commuters, the minibus sector particularly, which is slated to increase their prices in January?” he added.
He suggested that government should look into reducing the price now and asked that particular sector based on the reduction, to hold on the implementation of a new bus fare increase.
Joseph said parents are also struggling, after the cut back in the school transport subsidy and a general increase will cause more difficulties.
“Government is behaving as if nothing is happening in this country, because their salaries are guaranteed at the end of every month,” he added.