Fri 5th Mar 2010

Is Mustique a state within a state?

The island of Mustique was purchased in 1958 under Act no. 62 of 1989. The Mustique Company Ltd established a tourism industry and other commercial undertakings in Mustique.

The ULP regime came into office in 2001 and brought in the Mustique Company Act no. 48 of 2002. Under the 2002 Act, no customs duties or other taxes or duties are imposed by the ULP government on any aircraft, ships, boats or parts thereof, imported by Mustique Company, its subsidiaries or any qualifying residential licensee.

All materials, vehicles, equipment, tools, replacement parts, medicines, petroleum products and supplies which are considered by the company and its subsidiaries to be necessary for the constructions, operation, maintenance, improvements and proper functionings of all services and operations carried out by the company and its subsidiaries, may be purchased in or imported into SVG and / or taken out of bond therein, by the company and or its subsidiaries free of all customs duties and customs services charges.

It is ungodly for poor people to pay 15% VAT, while the rich can import a private jet aircraft and pay no customs duties or services charges. The ULP regime introduced VAT on many food items and other essentials for living. The ULP's VAT has made many families suffer and some children go without, and yet the rich in Mustique Company pay little tax.

Many Vincentians suffer with the high taxes on water, electricity and fuel, while the ULP regime exempts some of the rich from customs charges and taxes. It's one oppressive rule for the poor and one lax rule for the rich.

The ULP regime is incompetent; no one doubts that. They have no money to buy medicines for hospitals or provide drinking water for the children at Canouan primary school. The ULP regime seem not to care about the needs of the many. They are irresponsible to give Mustique Company multi-million dollar tax exemptions and only receive from the company a small stipend of $1.2m annually.

The special treatment Mustique Company receives grossly violates equal rights in SVG. This Act 48 of 2002 discriminates against all Vincentians not in Mustique Company Ltd, because the SVG Treasury is losing out on millions of dollars of revenue. The burden of the loss of revenue is placed on the people. This is one of the reasons our bills are so high and Vincentians have a second rate education system.

SVG Green Party invites Mustique Company to pay back the unpaid custom duties and taxes for the period 2003 to 2010 to the SVG Treasury and we call for these tax Acts to be repealed.

Fellow Vincentians, it seems that some people are more equal than others and their equal rights overrule our equal rights. Remember, when you pay your next bill, it's not just your share of the tax you're paying.

We need a change of government. An SVG Green Party government will bring in a fairer tax system so poor families will not have to suffer and poverty will be reduced. A Green economy is also needed to create jobs and start up new industries, as this will mean less need to tax the people.

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