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Fri 16th Dec 2011

Green Party believes Gonsalves is confused over Mustique tax haven

A Cuban Embassy function was held on Friday 9th December 2011, in Kingstown, St. Vincent, to commemorate CARICOM's courageous stance 39 years ago to establish diplomatic relationships with Cuba.

PM Gonsalves was the feature speaker and waffled on for about an hour with his usual dull offerings. At the end of the speech, the Leader of SVG Green Party, Ivan O'Neal, asked Gonsalves a direct question. O'Neal asked Gonsalves if he was confused over Mustique's tax haven. Gonsalves was struck dumb for a few moments - unable to answer.

Finally, Gonsalves offered a weak response then quickly left the stage, seemingly unhappy.

The Mustique tax haven is bleeding SVG dry. Next year will be a difficult year with much more hardship and poverty. SVG has massive public debt, high rates of unemployed and dangerous levels of crime. Gonsalves must surely be confused if he protects Mustique's tax haven for much longer. If he does, he should resign as minister of finance.

SVG is very short of revenue. The Mustique Act, no 48 of 2002, must be abolished. Mustique must pay tax to the SVG Treasury. PM Gonsalves is totally confused in his dealings with the finance of our country. He should be sent home on permanent leave; his gross incompetence is destroying SVG's economy and causing much pain and suffering.

The only person in SVG who seems confused about Mustique is Gonsalves. Mustique receives blanket customs duty and tax exemptions. The people of SVG do not receive tax exemptions, they are forced to pay tax. Why is Gonsalves confused then, when people call for Mustique to pay taxes? The tax and customs exemptions are unfair.

Gonsalves' reason for keeping the Mustique tax exemption is that it creates jobs. However, it is dotish to think that the hundreds of millions of lost tax revenue over all these years from Mustique is a worthwhile exchange for a handful of jobs. The money lost far outweighs the few jobs that are created.

Gonsalves has been willing to break the NCB, bring in property tax, bring in VAT and sell off crown lands, to keep the Mustique tax exemptions at all costs. There is no rationale for this. Gonsalves should reverse his policy on Mustique and bring in millions in tax for the SVG Treasury.

From 2001 to 2011 - the period of Gonsalves' ongoing confusion - the National Commercial Bank has been destroyed, we've experienced the worst Common Entrance Exams in SVG history and lots of businesses have been forced to close as they are getting few sales.

The way forward is obvious - Gonsalves must step aside as minister of finance for the best interest of our beloved country. He is clearly confused when it comes to finance.

An SVG Green Party government will create a Green economy. We will create an environment in which businesses can flourish and grow. This will bring thousands of new jobs and revitalise the dying the SVG economy.

A Green government will end the Mustique tax exemptions.

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