Who Fights For the Poor People of Jamaica?


If you are not aware by now please be informed that the mother of all taxes has now hit Jamaica and this is just a starting point I understand.

Many are saying that this an attack on the livelihood of the poor people of Jamaica should not be left unanswered. You will see a few articles below that sets out the reason for the increase, the items which now attract GCT and also an analyst by Ann Shirley stating that the new tax package is unbalanced.

While countries worldwide are trying to cushion the blow of the recession on the majority of the poor, back home in Jamaica there is this clear disregard for poor people. When basic food items like Pickled mackerel, herring, shad and dried salted fish, Canned sardines, herring and mackerel, Bread, buns, buns ,bullas ,biscuit and crackers ,Sugar, Salt and even sanitary napkins and tampons will now attract gct of 17.5%. The question is what help is given to the majority of the poor when the Govt. faced with the new taxes has further announced that public sector workers will have to draw their belts even tighter for the next two years. Prime Minister Bruce Golding delivered this further body blow to the workers when he announced that there will be no wage increases for public sector workers over the next two fiscal years.

There is also no consolation and one can see an escape clause set by the government in the words of Finance Minister Audley Shaw where he told Parliament that the expansion of the tax base was a recommendation from the Matalon Tax review committee, which was commissioned by the previous government, is this an opportunity to offset blame? When you also think of the name Matalon and they that may have comprise such a board these guys won’t feel it, the rich won’t feel it, the Ministers of Government won’t feel it this is a poor people tax it is argued.

It is only evident that there is no voice of the poor and the majority of the poor people in Jamaica unless it is not loud enough. With no social welfare system in place except for the almighty remittance which has been dwindling due to obvious economic hardship on Jamaicans in the Diaspora it is only evident that there will be a social backlash possible leading to unfavourable unrest.

Can the Government assure the electorate, the people of Jamaica of which they are servants that they will be able to collect the taxes? There have been many recent stories of major corporations not paying over taxes and giving lame duck excuses that it was an oversight.

The question is how can we in the overseas community cushion the blow of the poor people of Jamaica as no one it appears is standing up for the poor people of Jamaica and if they are where are they? One would have thought it should be the Members of Parliament arguing for the plight of the people.

Analysts say that new tax package is unbalanced 




Some of the items to attract GCT come January 1, 2010

  1. #1 by Erica Martin on December 18, 2009 - 10:21 pm

    It is a shame, but the poor people keep making the same mistake, they keep selling their vote for the price of a meal and then they pay the consequences for four years.
    When will they learn, many corporations including the corporation of Edward Seaga who initiated GCT have collected GCT and put it in their pockets.
    The rich people are lloking out for their self interest and they continue to devide and conquer the poor people, by allowing poor people to believe that the real enemy is their poor brothers and sisters.

  2. #2 by Glen on December 20, 2009 - 5:59 pm

    The tax increase announced seems heartless and will cause serious hardship to the majority. However we can’t approach the Govt. to reverse the tax increase without providing an alternative. They claim they have a “$17.9-billion hole to fill in the budget they either have to cut services like health and education or raise taxes” This makes economic sense on paper. They are also trying to borrow money from IMF and other sources, balancing the budget is something these institutions will insist on. Since Manley’s Govt of the 70’s, no Govt seemed to make a serious effort to grow the Jamaican economy. Imports have been steadily increasing while exports steadily decreased. I haven’t heard anyone here provide a viable solution. Maybe be need a more modest tax increase and a modest reduction in Govt. spending. Sure we could block all the roads in protest but at the end of the day there will be a lot of lost salaries and tourism will be seriously affected putting the country in a bigger hole.
    We need a plan to grow the Jamaican economy. The is the time when a lot of developing countries are going through their industrial and economic revolution, jobs are rapidly leaving the developed countries to other shores, we are missing the boat because of a lack of leadership.
    We need to restrict imports, and develop our own resources, importing bottled water and fresh vegetables is outrageous.

  3. #3 by Erica Martin on December 20, 2009 - 7:21 pm


    I agree totally. I grew up poor, we planted everything we ate and raised animals. There were individuals in my district sitting around all day doing nothing and they refused to plant anything.
    Why are we importing vegetables is beyond me.

  4. #4 by Collin on December 21, 2009 - 12:36 pm

    Hi Sylbourne!
    The time has come for protest. All Jamaican should organize for street protest. Some of us will die but the message would have been sent to the Golding administration.
    I am fully prepared for street protest.

  5. #5 by sylbourne on December 21, 2009 - 12:52 pm

    I have been following the news this morning where it said the PM is feeling the pressure with many threats of protest.

    I hope that there will be some serious review of the tax measures and the Govt need to be open as to what role the IMF plays in the process.

    Let us hope that if there is any protest it will be a dignified and peaceful protest.

  6. #6 by Glen on December 24, 2009 - 12:04 pm

    SOCIALISM: You have 2 cows, so you give one to your neighbour.
    COMMUNISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.
    FASCISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.
    NAZISM: You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.
    TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM / WALL-STREET JOURNALISM: You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire rich on the income.
    MALAYSIAN BUMIPUTRAISM: You have two cows, the State takes one and gives it to your bumiputra neighbour. From the milk you sell from the
    remaining cow you buy a bull and mulitply your herd. The State take 30 per cent of your herd as it grows and give them to your bumiputra neigbour.
    Your bumiputra neighbour has a kenduri each time they receive a cow.
    UMNOPUTRAISM : The State takes 30 per cent of your herd and parks them in Switzerland in the name of some UMNO official or close relatives, friends and sons-in-law. (UMNO)
    MALAYSIAN GOVERNMENT LINKED OR BUMIPUTRA CORPORATION : You have two cows. You employ mainly bumiputras to milk them. But both cows have been sent to the kenduri, so the State gives you more cows and write off the losses of the first two. After several kenduris later, you invite an American or German Corporation to turnaround the losses. The Japanese have however already taken their two original cows back home to Japan .
    AN AMERICAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows.Later, you hire a consultant to
    analyse why the cow has dropped dead.
    A FRENCH CORPORATION: You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.
    A JAPANESE CORPORATION: You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the
    milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.
    A GERMAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.
    AN ITALIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.
    A RUSSIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows because you’re sobering up and open another bottle of vodka.
    A SWISS CORPORATION: You have 5,000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.
    A CHINA CORPORATION: You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity, and arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.
    AN INDIAN CORPORATION: You have two cows. You worship them.
    A BRITISH CORPORATION: You have two cows. Both are mad.
    IRAQI CORPORATION: Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of a Democracy….
    IRISH CORPORATION: You have two cows…or is it three? What matters? Aren’t you well off to have even one?
    JAMAICA You have two goats you tell everyone they are cows. You borrow money against them then kill the goats and have a big party. When the banks need their money you borrow from another bank to pay back the loan all the while thinking you still have 2 cows.

  7. #7 by sylbourne on December 24, 2009 - 2:06 pm

    Wow Glen the cow factor is very interesting. Where is the original source for this document ?

  8. #8 by Glen on December 24, 2009 - 4:10 pm

    I first saw it on a poster, there are several versions of it ( I made up the Jamaican myself:) ) Just google “two cows economics”

  9. #9 by Mariah Guttenberg on January 14, 2010 - 9:00 pm

    Hello – just a brief note to say thanks for this entry. Very interesting.

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