Dr The Hon Keith Mitchell, the prime 'tax' minister of Grenada, is the most anti- progressive and deceitful leader in the entire Caribbean. With over 30 years experience as a parliamentarian and four terms as prime minister, Dr Mitchell is solely responsible for taking Grenada into a political, social and economic cesspool. Through his wanton mismanagement and alleged corrupt practices, he took Grenada 's economy from a position of stability and creditworthiness to total collapse and bankruptcy.
From 1995 to 2008, his poor economic policies resulted in an increase of the national debt from $340 million to almost $2 billion. Today, Grenada is second only to Greece as the most indebted country in the world, with a GNP to debt ratio of approximately 115% and rising. The country lost millions of dollars in loan guarantees to unscrupulous individual, crooks and con men. Millions were also lost to failed projects, including Levera, Mt Hartman and the call center.
Over $18 million was given in one form or the other to operate a call center, which failed. None of these monies were ever paid back to the consolidated fund. No one has been prosecuted as a result. Such malfeasance should never be tolerated, especially when taxpayers’ monies are mismanaged and wasted. Once again, the long 'hairy' hand of the tax gorilla is on the rampage as Dr Mitchell and the NNP begin to lay the foundation for their tax and spend policies.
The NNP can't deliver and so the burden is now on the backs of the people to surrender their earnings into a failed economy. The people should demand that Dr Mitchell recoup all the monies in the call center fiasco before paying a single cent in additional taxes. Dr Mitchell should be made to account for these malpractices which occurred under his watch. The buck stops with him.
The clarion call by the prime 'tax' minister for the populace to make sacrifices after years of his deliberate mismanagement should go unheeded. The nation should demand that the 'tax minister’ first make a serious effort to recoup the monies wasted under his watch in the past. He shouldn't be given a fourth opportunity to do as he very well likes with the hard earned monies of the middle class workers. The middle class, on the verge of being wiped out, should hold their ground and demand accountability and transparency from Dr the Honourable 'Tax' Mitchell and the NNP. It just doesn’t make any sense for the middle class to trust Mr Tax with their monies. He has squandered the resources of the country before and he will definitely do so again.
The prime minister and the NNP aren't genuinely concerned about the sustainable development and growth of the country. It is obvious that they are more concerned about preserving their own jobs while scores of workers are been retrenched. Their fight to the rights of a 6% increase in their already high salaries and allowances is a manifestation of their greed and selfishness. The gullibility of the NNP and their supporters are responsible for the political, social and economic malaise of the country.
This is the said person who made the following comments and observations leading up to the February 19th general elections:
“NNP believes that there is a threshold above which you tax the people and get less revenue, not more revenue. Grenadians are already 'overtaxed'. People have very little disposable income to meet their basic and fundamental needs. Government (NDC) continues to pile taxes on the people literally reaping of their pockets. This will destroy the country's investment and development climate.
“NNP will NEVER support further taxation on the backs of the people. In 1995 when we removed the income tax for the majority of people in the country some people called us 'voodoo economists'. They say the NNP could never do this. The IMF didn't support us, the World Bank didn't support us, the ECCB didn't support us, but I told them we will show you that we are right.”
The removal of the income tax meant that the government denied itself millions of dollars in revenue. It was during this period that Dr Mitchell and the NNP borrowed millions of dollar, engaging in a spending spree on many ill- advised projects.
With the economy of the country in shambles struggling under a national debt of $2.5 billion, Mitchell is blaming everything that is wrong with the country on the NDC. He seems to forget that he had been the leader of the country for thirteen of the last seventeen years, and responsible for the country losing millions of dollars under his watch. Dr Mitchell is now attempting to tax his way out of the mess he has created as leader of this country. After pronouncing that the Grenadian people are “overtaxed” under a 15% VAT and other penalties and levies, Dr Mitchell, breaking yet another of his many election promises, resorted to increased taxation on the people as part of the structural adjustment program (SAP).
First and foremost, he re-introduced personal income tax to 15% and 45%. He then went further to indicate that there will be increases in property tax, probably by as much as 100%. Following that, his administration announced that all taxes related to motor vehicles will be increased, in addition to some new taxes. Exam and inspection fees increased by 200%, vehicle transfer fees by 800%, vehicle registration 400%, drivers examination fees by 200%, with the fees cumulative, drivers licences increased by 100%.
In addition to these taxes, it is expected that many more taxation measures will be introduced when the minster of taxation reads the 2014 budget. The prime minister is tight lipped as to what new measures his NNP administration will further introduce to satisfy the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a component of the structural adjustment program. Dr Mitchell is so disingenuous during his speech at the rally following his party's convention, he tried to pin the NDC to the structural adjustment program. He is not candid and forthright enough to take ownership of his own program. This is not the time to selfishly lay blame in the wrong direction. Dr the Hon Keith 'Tax' Mitchell should blame himself and his NNP administration for taking Grenada down a path of destruction. He is responsible and as such should man up to his responsibility and not engage foolishly in politicking. The world is watching and listening to his rhetoric. He can't escape from the fact that, as prime minister, he introduced policies which wrecked the Grenadian economy. He is now attempting to wreck the middle class by taxing them into poverty and deprivation.
Dr Mitchell has betrayed the mandate that was given to him and the NNP on February 19, 2013. Like Judas who betrayed Jesus Christ, Dr Mitchell has betrayed the people of Grenada after getting their vote. He got his pieces of silver and probably some gold while the population is suffering and hurting. Having betrayed the electorate, Dr Mitchell is now making a desperate efforts to extricate himself from the fact that he is the one responsible for taking the country down the path. Chester Humphrey said it best when he indicated that the NNP isn't righteous.
It is now the responsibility of the people of Grenada and especially the middle class who will be greatly affected by this increase taxation to hold Dr Mitchell to account. They should demand that the prime minister and minister of finance step aside for his failure to provide the job, jobs, jobs, reduce the cost of living, reduce taxes on the people who he said are already overtaxed. This is a failure of enormous proportion which demands dismissal The middle income workers should come out strongly against these tax measures and only give their support when Dr Tax Mitchell steps aside. Enough of this deception, lies and bamboozling of the people. Grenada deserves better leadership. It is time for the middle class to stand for something or they will continue to fall for anything.
Where are the leaders of the middle class? The intellectuals of the country are being made to look like fools by Dr Mitchell and the NNP. Workers who have studied hard to accomplish a particular status in society shouldn't allow themselves to be used like pawns and tools of the political directorate. The stance taken by the Public Workers Union is a first step in the right direction, but they need to go further and make strong demands of the government in an effort to address the issue of increased taxation on their membership. It is then and only then will their views be respected by the prime minister and the NNP.
This is not the time to be cowed or coerced into submission, but it is a golden opportunity to stand up for what is right. If this opportunity is wasted then the future of the children of this country will be extremely bleak. God is showing the nation the way. He is exposing falsehood, deceit and deception so that the truth shall be reveal. Chester Humphrey is an atheist and so you can't depend on him. The time is right to search your souls, unite and fight for your rights. When the leaders of the slaves deceived them, they took matters into their own hands and fought for their freedom. Folks, the country needs you now more than ever before. Don't disappoint your children and grandchildren.
Dr Mitchell and the NNP have dedicated 2014 as the year of “Poverty and Taxation”. We the people have the power to change this and re-dedicate 2014 as the year of “National Liberation, National Equality, National Reconciliation and National Development.” Dr Mitchell and the NNP are not focused and they are going the wrong way. It is time for a positive change before it is too late. We can't allow Grenada to become Jamaica or Haiti. There is an urgent need to reverse the situation as soon as possible and the first place to start is the removal of Dr Mitchell as prime minister and minister of finance. People of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, it's your duty to save your country.