Fri 9th Dec 2011

Gonsalves' property tax increase - a social time-bomb

The recent IMF report confirms what everyone in the country already knew: Gonsalves is incompetent and the SVG economy is at rock bottom. It confirms that SVG is very short of money and Gonsalves has no idea how to create revenue for the country.

To solve the problem of no revenue coming into the country, it seems that Gonsalves will decide to punish the people of SVG with higher property taxes. This is not the solution and will only put another nail in the coffin of the Vincentian people, pushing many more into poverty.

Vincentians already suffer with VAT, high water and electricity prices, high unemployment, school fees and a high rate of crime throughout the country. Destitution, poverty and squalor are seen all around SVG, but Gonsalves wants another pound of flesh from the people. SVG will become a United Nations food aid country.

Higher property taxes are unfair and immoral. It should not happen when Mustique and Canouan get highly immoral tax and customs duty exemptions and Taiwan creams off billions from SVG's deep sea fish licence. These vagabonds do not pay taxes to the SVG treasury.

PM Gonsalves is making a big mistake and building a social time-bomb in SVG, in protecting and preserving the injustices of not taxing the very rich, but oppressing the poor with the burden of having to shoulder the heavy weight of more taxes with an increase in property tax.

The problem with a property tax increase is that it will not stimulate the dying SVG economy, it will not bring in foreign exchange or create new jobs, and it will hurt a lot of people, taking away what little disposable income their household may have.

In Greece, the government has tried to bring in a property tax and it has caused a revolt. People and businesses have refused to pay and it has resulted in mass civil disobedience. Unions, lawyers and property owners have all vowed to do whatever they can to stop the law. Thousands of protesters have marched through the Greek capital and another general strike closed schools and public services.

Rather than confronting the economic challenges, Gonsalves wants to take the short-sighted, lazy route. It is an unintelligent approach to rebuilding the broken SVG economy and will not work. Many families can barely afford to eat, and with higher property taxes, they will barely be able to afford to live in their house.

Gonsalves has spent 11 years wasting taxpayers' money on dead projects - building a jail, police stations, resource centres and the muddy wasteland at Argyle. These projects have not brought income in to the country or created long-term jobs. It was inevitable that under Gonsalves SVG would run out of money.

We must change direction into a Green sustainable economy. We should learn from the mistakes of Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland and forget tourism as the engine as SVG. Their economies have gone bust because of a reliance upon tourism.

A Green government will build a strong, sustainable economy and create thousands of new jobs. Built upon a multi-variable platform, a Green economy will bring in a high yield and millions of dollars revenue.

Green economics is prosperity.

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