Fri 10th Oct 2008
Since 2001, political activist Ivan O'Neal, now leader of the socially conscious SVG Green Party has been telling the people of SVG and the international community that Taiwan has been evading taxes in SVG. The SVG high seas fishing licence require that Taiwan have Vincentian observers on every ship flying the Vincentian flag. This has never been complied with and the Ralph Gonsalves Government has turned a blind eye to this non compliance with the high seas fishing law.
The company in whose name the Taiwanese vessels are registered to give them local status in the eyes of the International Commission for the Conservation of the Atlantic Tuna, should have been registered in SVG. Taiwan should pay 20% corporation tax which amounts to EC$ 600 million dollar annually. Our government has turned a blind eye to this. The company's home address is in Trinidad.
The purpose of this strategy is to provide this Government with a mechanism to access easy grants for their revenue draining projects, such as resource centres, the cross country road and the military airport at Argyle. This is a ploy for Taiwan to pay meagre taxes through the back door. The grants for the various projects are not controlled by the Treasury, therefore there is no serious accountability to the nation.
SVG Green Party has calculated that Taiwan owes SVG billions of US dollars in evaded taxes between 1987 and 2008. Meanwhile, the poor masses have to pay VAT on food and electricity, wharf tax to travel to the Grenadines, increased licence fees, water rates and the government refuses to pay teachers and other public servants the Powell reclassification 2 amount. But what is most cynical is that every Christmas, the Ralph Gonsalves regime gives the poor masses only 2 weeks' income via work cleaning the roads, while Taiwan is getting away with not paying all this tax at the expense of all Vincentians.
This practice of Taiwanese economic apartheid is ugly and unacceptable. Apartheid failed in South Africa and it will fail in SVG. Its only purpose is to hasten the destruction of our beautiful country by perpetuating poverty with cheque book diplomacy. They are assisting the Ralph Gonsalves government to hide its gross incompetence and weak leadership.
Technology transfer is the way forward in helping SVG to hold its own on the world stage. If Taiwan was true a friend of SVG, this would have been the case. However, for 27 years they have been pretending to help us, when in fact they have been secretly creaming off millions of dollars annually from our high seas fishing licences.
Vincentians are being cheated by Taiwan. Poor families are needlessly struggling and food and fuel prices are cruelly high because the ULP regime is weak. VAT is hurting everyone yet this government does not force Taiwan to pay taxes and end the suffering. What's going on behind the scenes?
A Green government will enrich all Vincentians lives by getting Taiwan to pay all tax that is owed to our country. There's no reason why Vincentian families and children should be robbed to feed the wealthy Taiwanese nation. It is morally and inherently wrong.