I have stayed away from these political squabbles in the past few years as I try to concentrate and moreover recommend policies of self-sustenance among other things to my immediate so-called social associates.
VAT as we come to realize is an obligated statute or as I would like to say a foreshadow govern levy, which is always a forecast on the legislative cards to introduce on the populace whenever the dependency of a state becomes overwhelmed with huge debts that are unbearable and unsustainable. This is an obvious indication that we are lounging at the jaws of the International Monetary Fund.
Now what St Lucians are not being told by the politicians and legislative cohorts is, even as the island introduced VAT as a means of financing and balancing its massive debts, this policy won't guarantee the abstention of the island succumbing to the IMF, thanks to the imprudent spending of successive regimes.
While we continue to live lavishly like developed countries, our politicians are indirectly indicating to us that the only way forward is to cut down on our local systems workforce this is blatantly covering up for their own extravagant spending in salaries, purchasing of vehicles and globetrotting.
We were constantly reminded about the evils of the inept former administration being famously known to be unacquainted to the consolidation funds and thereby concentrated on going to bed with Taiwanese to enable them to privately pocket third world projected resources. And so we are now seeing the very same prototype being replicated in a methodological fashion… thanks to sustenance being handed out by the very same (bête noir) Taiwanese that our present prime minister grudgingly promised to do away with in his post election bluff.
The only unselfish opinion I had time to entertain in the advent of VAT came from accountant/businessman Geoffrey Devaux, who shares a similar sentiment that, inasmuch that vat is inevitable, the timing is just not conducive to the current global double digits recession repercussions.
Coincidentally, the Trinidad Government went into parliament to alter VAT on all edible consumption goods. This is a self reliant republic island with ultra highways and super hypermarket shopping malls, all being supplemented by black sandy beaches blanketing reserves of crude oil, and another natural resource (its people) possesses apart from openly displaying their skilful talents, they have a knack for diplomacy.
Trinidad and Tobago, the (Miami shopping) capital of the Caribbean, can afford to feed the entire rest of the English-speaking Caribbean archipelago, as there was a time that Trinidad and Tobago was where the islands’ natives ventured in search of huge food and clothing bargains. Now in spite of Trinidad and Tobago being self sufficient, the government politely and cleverly decided that, in light of the soon to be global (15%) increase in food prices, it should go to parliament and enact legislation to immediately alleviate the strain on its ever increasing population by removing the VAT tariff on all food items.
Bravo for a prime minister who understands and listens to the people and won't allow them to pay exorbitant prices for basic human needs, moreover the prime minister has seen the havoc this unpopular tax has created. Hence the reason for the amendment of this levy, despite her islands not being dependent on the much sought after tourism dollar, she has gone ahead in paving the way to embrace the islands’ shoppers who she obviously anticipate will be calling in numbers on her shores in the advent of the food and clothing shortages that will be evident in such chaos.
Suffice to say on this issue, but wasn't our prime minister purposing to pump $100 million into this stagnant economy? This was often mentioned in his many addresses and political meetings. Now we all understand where this hyperbole was hatched out. Nice try, Mr Prime Minister, as St Lucians will have to either brace themselves to stomach the threatening unbearable substandard way of self provisions or demand the government find some other diplomatic means of generating development in this stagnant economy other than trying to squeeze the blood out of its struggling small population in its gimmicks in pumping $100 million into the economy.
This 15% VAT should derive from visitors calling to our port if we are continually boasting of the increase in tourist arrivals, it's sheer logic that, when one leaves to embark on a vacation, they are likely to spend most times even out of pocket -- look at the way Sandals goes about marketing its product.
I also think it's about the time the prime minister subordinates and consultants direct himself into the understanding that he must pay more attention to the island's agro-industry’s huge potential. This may also generate excitement with the farming community and besides keep young farmers at home to attend to their farms instead of ending up in Canadian and French lockups.
All is not lost when the authorities realize where their real resources lie and take the initiative in negotiating markets out there for cocoa and it's byproducts, poultry and its by-products, bananas and plantain by products, coconuts and its byproducts, mangoes and its byproducts to name a few, rather than subsidizing empty aircraft seats flying out of the island.
After all this, where else can the islanders vent their frustration upon experiencing the awful sight of what the cat just dragged in?