May 31, 2016 - 5:03pm

Speaking at an SLP press conference today, the Representative for Soufriere and Minister for Social Transformation, Hon.



From May 1, 2011, all Saint Lucians and persons travelling to and from Saint Lucia are compelled to pay to the Government of Saint Lucia, acting on behalf of SLASPA, U.S. $35.00 or E.C. $94.50 as a so-called airport development tax to meet the cost of financing the re-development of Hewannorra Airport. The money raised from this tax is to be placed in a special account for the benefit of those who invest in financing the airport. This new tax does not exempt children. Every child who travels to and from Saint Lucia will be required to pay this tax. It is a criminal offence not to pay the tax. A person who refuses to pay the tax is liable, on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding $500.00 or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months. It is highly unusual for a tax to be imposed on all citizens to finance a project in advance of the commencement or completion of the project. This new tax further means that Saint Lucian citizens who travel abroad will now pay the highest taxes in the region for the right to travel. If, for example, a ticket is purchased to travel to Barbados at a basic fare of E.C. $426.60, the following add-on taxes are payable:

Ticket Tax- $32.02;
Departure Tax- $67.50;
Airport Development Tax-$13.00;
Airport Authority Tax- $4.05;
and Airport Passenger Tax- $1.00.

These taxes currently amount to E.C$117.57. When the new airport development tax is added, the total taxes to be paid by Saint Lucians will now be E.C. $212.07. This excludes taxes of EC $83.70 (US$31.00) by Barbados.

This new tax comes at a time when Saint Lucians have been forced by this regime to pay exorbitant prices for fuel, a new security tax, vehicle license fees, and claim reduced deductions on mortgages and home repairs. The Saint Lucia Labour Party is aware that Saint Lucians are required to pay for the airport in advance because the investors are nervous about the safety of their investments in the airport. The people of Saint Lucia should not be compelled by SLASPA to bear this burden merely to give Asphalt and Mining and its affiliates a hefty contract for the benefit of its political cronies in time for the next General Elections. The Saint Lucia Labour Party believes that a sane and caring government would give priority to the reconstruction of the island’s battered infrastructure, ahead of the start of the next hurricane season less than a month from now; instead of imposing additional stress on citizens still traumatized by the ravages of Hurricane Tomas. In light of this new imposition on the people of Saint Lucia, the Saint Lucia Labour Party gives formal notice that it will use all lawful means at its disposal to protect the interests of the people of Saint Lucia. It advises those now negotiating contracts with the Government, that any agreements or arrangements made that are not acceptable to the SLP, and with which the SLP has publicly stated and voiced its dissatisfaction and rejection; will certainly come up for policy and legal review.

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