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.