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