The fiscal plan for 2017-2018 that was put forward by the Minister of Finance, Audley Shaw, reflects how out of touch the government is with the Jamaican people. In order to uphold a foolish election promise, the government is going to burden Jamaica’s lower class with heavier taxes. The Government’s new tax package is madness. The Andrew Holness administration is raising taxes on fuel, expanding the reach of the General Consumption Tax on electricity, increasing motor vehicle licence and fees, imposing a General Consumption Tax on group health insurance, etc.
The government’s new tax plan will have adverse effects on Jamaica's working class. With the increase in the price of fuel, we can expect a call for a raise of bus fares to follow as public transport operators will want to cover their increased expenses. Commuting students and workers will be hit hard by this new tax plan. It is ridiculous and cruel of the government to raise taxes on two necessities– electricity and transport – simultaneously. Consumers will be faced with a double increase on electricity as consumers are the ones who will be burdened by the tax as the JPS will pass the tax on to consumers. The price of electricity will also increase as a result of the increases in taxes on fuel.
I am disappointed, but not surprised, by the People’s National Party (PNP) inability to provide an alternative to the fiscal plans presented by the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP). There has been a general silence from the PNP regarding certain policies being implemented by the government – Andrew’s plan to privatise water, his visit to Israel, his approach to crime, and now the fiscal policy for 2017-2018. The PNP needs to play a more active and involved role in the governing of our country by constantly reviewing the work being done by the government and informing the masses about the possible effects they will have to face, and also by providing alternatives.
The PNP missed an excellent opportunity to show the public t.at both parties are not the same in how they believe the country should be governed. Instead, the PNP decided to be all bark and no bite. I am tired of the Opposition simply opposing the moves being made by the government while not informing the public about what is wrong with proposed policies and what the PNP would do differently. As the future leader of the PNP, Peter Philips needs to be a more assertive Opposition Leader, putting forward well-developed policies and plans as alternatives to the JLP’s policies instead of just simply telling us that the JLP’s plans won’t work. Work should not only be done by the PNP when elections are around the corner. This is something that the PNP will need to change if they wish to have another chance at governing the country.
Andrew Holness has shown me once again that he is the typical uptown Jamaican that thinks he has all the answers for Jamaica while only knowing how to govern uptown Jamaica and thus implementing policies that he believes (I hope) will be beneficial to poor people but in reality only the rich and privileged benefit from them.