Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said in his Budget Address on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 that there are no new taxes in the $1.4 billion budget for the financial year 2018-2019, but Opposition Leader Philip J. Pierre disagrees.
Responding to Chastanet’s address, Pierre said the fuel surcharge and the health insurance levy are taxes.
Pierre said: “He promised no new taxes but has committed minibus drivers, fishermen, taxi drivers, and other motorists to an increase in the price of gasoline by over $1.00 per gallon.
“Is the fuel surcharge not a tax Mr. Speaker? A tax that would impact on the cost of living and affect negatively on most Saint Lucians.
“A sector that will feel the burden of that tax is the fishing sector. Mr. Speaker, [the] Labour party Government understands the difficulties that fisher folk undergo every day. A Labour party government will take measures to relief the burden of the fuel tax on the fisher folk in Saint Lucia.
“The Health Insurance levy is a new tax,” Pierre said.
In his Budget Address entitled “Building Resilience Today to Secure Our Future”, Chastanet emphasised that no new taxes will be introduced in this financial year.
“This budget has been prepared without introducing any new taxes. I wish to emphasize, there will be no new taxes. The only adjustment to revenue, comes from the removal of the cap on fuel, as world oil prices have increased considerably in comparison to prices last year,” Chastanet said.