Leo Clarke, the General Secretary of the ruling Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP), has dismissed as reckless, an opposition promise to remove Value Added Tax (VAT).
The opposition United Workers Party (UWP) has pledged to ultimately remove the tax as part of its “Five to Stay Alive” plan.
The ruling labour party for its part, has indicated that it will be presenting fifteen pledges for the further development of Saint Lucia at its political meeting on the Castries Market steps.
Whilst the UWP has criticized the announcement as a knee jerk reaction to its “Five to Stay Alive” plan, Leo Clarke has asked that the population wait and make its own assessment.
“We have had the opportunity to look at what the UWP is offering and we think that particularly in relation to the removal of VAT, it is a very reckless statement,” Clarke told reporters.
He recalled that the SLP came into government in 2011.
According to Clarke the SLP has worked painstakingly to stabilize this country and bring it back on a path to growth and development.
The SLP General Secretary expressed the view that Saint Lucia has returned to growth.
“We have seen some gradual reduction in the unemployment rate,” he said.
Clarke noted that the government has now introduced the Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP), with “tremendous and overwhelming” interest being shown by local investors.
Leo Clarke said that Saint Lucia is currently at the point where a whole new period of growth can be expected under a labour administration.
He raised questions about the removal of VAT without any indication of how the transition from the measure would be managed.
Clarke observed that VAT is now stable, yielding somewhere in the region of over $300 million a year.
He questioned how it would be replaced while at the same time ensuring security for the jobs of public servants and providing essential services to the people of this country.
“You need to go beyond just saying that you are going to remove VAT,” the SLP General Secretary declared.