SLP urges gov’t to reconsider decision to implement new taxes

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SLP urges gov’t to reconsider decision to implement new taxes
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PRESS RELEASE – The Saint Lucia Labour Party has expressed its outrage over news that the Government of Saint Lucia has agreed to an increase in the Departure Tax as well as the reinstatement of the Airport Development Tax, effective April 1st, 2017 and is calling on the Prime Minister to reconsider the decision.

The Labour Party sees these increases in taxation as a betrayal by the UWP Government which had severely criticised the previous SLP Administration claiming that the people of Saint Lucia were too heavily taxed. Further, the UWP had promised that existing taxes would be reduced to make life more bearable for Saint Lucians.

The latest increase in taxes mean that Departure Tax for persons travelling to CARICOM countries and the French Caribbean Islands will be increased from US$25 to US$35 whilst Departure Tax for persons travelling outside of CARICOM countries and the French Caribbean Islands will be increased from US$25 to US$65;

The Airport Development Tax will be reinstated at a rate of US$35 for persons travelling outside of CARICOM countries and the French Caribbean Islands. This Tax was previously suspended by the Saint Lucia Labour Party in 2012.

With these new taxes Saint Lucians travelling to any CARICOM island or any French island, will automatically be subjected to an increase of C$27 per ticket. Whilst Saint Lucians travelling to other places, for example, New York, Miami, Toronto or London, will pay an additional EC$215.

All visitors to our island will also have to bear the additional cost of EC$215 per person. Consequently, a Saint Lucian family of four and who are resident oversees, coming home to see relatives will have to pay nearly EC$900 extra.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party believes that at a time when tourism is facing increased competition the new taxes will make Saint Lucia more uncompetitive. It is also strange that this comes after Saint Lucia joined the rest of CARICOM in rebuking the UK Government for having the Airline Passenger Duty (APD) arguing that the tax was hurting tourism.

The Saint Lucia Labour Party calls on the UWP Government to stick to its election promises. The Saint Lucia Labour Party also calls on the UWP Government to provide Parliament with a statement on the proposed taxes and those which will be imposed in the coming months. Saint Lucians need to know what the monies collected will be used for and how will it be accounted for.

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60 COMMENTS

  1. Most of the UWP hacks just don't get it..You were promised one thing and getting another. The tax could be something that none of us pays but it's the principle behind the thing. During campaigning UWP said we were overtaxed, blah blah blah. Now you want to bring in a new tax. UWP said they were going to reduce and ultimately remove VAT within 100 days. Up to now. October will stretch to 5 years (providing they last that long), and if VAT is reduced it's going to be by 2.5-3% (with additional taxes to make up for that which they lose from VAT). I suspect they will increase the environmental levy among others. UWP is clueless as how to run a sweetie shop, far less a country of people looking for handouts. Guess what? I don't need anything from politicians, as I serve only JAH, and he provides for me everyday.

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  2. There are three arguments that the SLP being the SLP would always have with the government .

    1. An argument for if VAT is increased.

    2. Another argument for if VAT is reduced.

    3. And the last, an argument for if VAT remains as is.

    So what's the point of arguing with SLP and their hacks. Point is we need some relief and you can continue quarrelling just because is not your party doing it. Is the best way to die at the hands of your party? Don't know just asking.

    (3)(1)

  3. There is no such thing as a replacement for VAT. VAT is a new tax regime that was imposed. Contrary to what people think it cost government a ton of money to administer it. If you have a tourism based economy and you don't want to tax it then how will you make any money out of it? But you want to tax every child, poor person, physically challenged, senior citizen who have worked their butts off for the last 65 years, Every person who have struggled with a business over the last five years. The point is the airport tax was there before VAT, nobody complained or asked what would replace it when Kenny Anthony removed it. We do not collect VAT for the airport redevelopment, idiots. That's as separate as SLP is from governance. Imagine that!!!

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  4. Whose foolhardy idea? Gasson Cuba just opened up. Grenada is starting to make strides in its tourism product. All we are doing is pricing ourselves out of the market. Evidently, the concept of volume (which Walmart uses successfully) has not arrived at our shores. A local example would be the taxi drivers. If they lower their prices, they would be doing much better (volume).

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    • Superficial analysis. Are you people serious? Is that the kind of thinking that you bring to the political platforms?

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  5. I listen to all the so called economic experts but all i know a country cannot run without resources- man money and material.We are not a rich country and the government must raise capital so if they are reducing vat they will definitely get the money somewhere else. Simply common sense.

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  6. Those guys so strange. Lol i thought everyone was asking wat was being done with the millions collected in vat. Did they ever say. But now uall in opposition uall asking. Lol lol strange.

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    • These jokers never understood macro-economics. They implemented a VAT and it crippled the whole country. Businesses are still reeling from the foolishness that is the SLP. Did you see how the brains left the party one by one? The pea brained could not understand those who know better and were forced out of the party. They tried CIP. Saint Lucians are now second-class citizens in their own birthplace. Still the jobs, jobs, jobs were just STEP, STEP, STEP (genius!).

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  7. When the uwp government introduced the airport development tax, there was never a reduction in airport arrivals, considering it was in existence for over four years until the last SLP administration terminated it. Kenny's reason for the termination was that it was illegal. What then is the Wasco dam dredging levee?

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  8. The more things change, the more they remain the same. Everyone knew tampering with VAT would have effects on other sectors. It's all about taxes. No new innovations. Can't fool me.

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  9. "Economic literacy is apparently at an all time high in this country!" she said in a tone dripping with biting sarcasm

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  10. This nonsensical advice is typical of the depths of stupidity coming from a clueless party. Note that for all their vaunted doctoral degrees that party was only able to devise a TEMPORARY scheme of employment for party faithfuls. After that they should keep their stupid ideas to themselves. This party is nothing short of an embarrassment and a pox on the face of Saint Lucians.
    SLP failed. Now they are asking others to walk in their footsteps. You hear crap? Now that is crap.

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  11. as someone who lived there for several years I would be happy to pay the extra to FO out of the corrupt nasty place you call home. good luck with tourism.

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  12. I don't care about increases in departure tax. I don't travel. But I go to the supermarket regularly and I feel the squeeze from VAT. We the truly poor of Saint Lucia need to survive too, for we form the largest voting block on the island. So to you rich and able to travel to travel folks, this is my time, our time. Poor people time. But I don't expect you to ever understand what it means to save a dollar. Yes one dollar.

    (17)(12)

  13. I like how lucians believe that saint lucia isnt part of the global system.
    I lile everybody does turn economist or tax expert whenever an article pops up.
    Vat is the most efficient tax we have. Before vat, vendors, fishermen amd cash in hand workers never paid income tax. They used the roads, the water system, the street lights and the people with formal jobs had to pay the bill while that group of people did not contribute.
    Vat forces everyone to pay thier fair share of taxes. Why would you remove vat to put a tax which targets our tourists? The people we are trying to persuade to come to our country.
    This administration has time and time again proven that they have no idea how to stimulate growth. They keep shooting themselves in the foot.

    (25)(6)

    • Departure Tax is not a replacement for VAT. VAT is not being removed to "put" Departure Tax. VAT is being reduced as promised. Simple arithmetic would suggest that a 3% reduction in VAT will result in a revenue shortfall of $70,000,000. VAT collects approximately $350,000,000 but Departure Tax may not collect more than $6,000,000. Like you however I think that's a sensitive place to "put" one of the new taxes that will have to be implemented.

      The government is trying to find ways to compensate for the decrease in VAT which it promised. Obviously it is no easy task and regardless of whom the "proposed new taxes" might affect there will be discontent.

      The only other option the government might have is to reduce both recurrent and capital expenditures considerably.

      It's a mathematical equation and can only remain in balance if other variables are also changed. Here's the equation:

      Recurrent Revenues + Capital Revenues + Loans + Grants = Recurrent Expenditures + Capital Expenditues (+ or -) Surplus or Deficit.

      - Clarifier: Economist cum Tax Expert cum Accountant cum Government Accountant cum Sociologist cum Political Scientist cum Philosopher.

      (5)(5)

    • While I agree with you that the formal working class forks the bill for fishermen, roadside vendors etc. Why should the formal working class be burdened with an additional tax just to collect from those folks?

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  14. What decision to implement new taxes? I haven't seen that press release from the Government of St.Lucia. Has St.Lucia News Online reported on these new taxes?

    Have these new taxes come before parliament for the SLP to vote against?

    Assuming however that the government is seriously thinking of increasing these taxes I hope they have done their homework properly on the price elasticity of travel to and from St.Lucia. Remember years ago the cruise ship companies went up in arms for US$5.00 per "head"; only US$5. And we all should know what happened in the end with that tax.

    Like I've said before one of the best taxes that have been implemented in St.Lucia has been the fuel tax (tax at the pump) and that's because people have paid millions without a "whimper"; $20.00 fuel is $20.00 fuel, whether you get a little less for the same amount is forgivable.

    One of the worst taxes on the other hand is one that doesn't result in any significant increase in tax revenues but causes "political and/or economic turmoil" on an inordinate scale. The Environmental Levy is one example of a tax that caused "economic turmoil". It practically killed off an entire industry - the importation of used cars- in just a few months and collected little revenue as a result because there was nothing much left to tax.

    With regard to the current alleged proposed tax, I don't have the statistics to go with the figures shown above to arrive at the gross tax revenues to be collected. But one thing that's certain is that we always have to be wary of increases in taxes and prices that are astronomically higher than the original costs.
    People work hard for their money and if it's one thing that people hate to give away "freely", it's their money!

    Forewarned is forearmed.

    (11)(1)

  15. Urll st.lucians need to educate urll self ..first of our country depends on tourism this is how 65% of our ppl depend on for a daily bread, now if urll don't know for the tourist st.lucia is already very expensive for them to visit and every year our numbers are getting low and every Damn year ppl getting drop from hotels, Cuba is opening their gate to tourism this means it will get worse for us, and urll block heads deh talking about make other ppl pay our taxes an best move....urll wait to see in a few years to come how tourism will fail in our beautiful country and more ppl home staving chpz

    (23)(1)

    • Bro/Sis in 2006 when it was implemented, there was a 100% increase in tourism. That is the only evidence on the record. Stop assuming.

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