The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is claiming first round victory in the fight against the Municipal Solid Waste Tax.
At the same time, it is accusing Government of using divide and rule tactics to silence some who’re opposed to the tax
Speaking at a BLP meeting last night in Cane Gardens, St Thomas, Senator Wilfred Abrahams said despite the parytial victory, the battle is not over.
“We are not stopping short of the complete repeal of this unfair, disgusting, discriminatory piece of legislation,” he said.
Yesterday, Minister of Finance Minister Chris Sinckler confirmed a waiver on the tax for pensioners with property valued at $190,000 or below, a 50 per cent reduction on the levy on agricultural lands, and the extension of the first payment deadline from July 28 to December 31.
Abrahams said the changes were “based on the pressure being brought to bear on the Government by a couple of people bold enough to speak out…Based on the fact that we supplied people with letters, templates, to help them to write in and ask for exemptions”.
“The voice of the Barbados Labour Party and the voice of the people of Barbados have forced the Government to look at it; forced the Government to make adjustments in relation to pensioners and their property,” he asserted.
“If they can look at that with the voices of a few then they can repeal it with the voices of thousands”.
He described as ‘devious’ the administration’s singling out of certain groups for concessions.
“One of the largest sections, and the one that was generating the most sympathy was the pensioners so the Government sought to ease the burden on the pensioners in the hope that the pensioners would shut up and not join with the rest of Barbados.”
The Opposition senator added, “It [Government] sought to ease the burden on those with agricultural land because it hopes that conglomerate would shut up and not join in the protest about this tax and against the Government.
“This is typically the old standard of divide and rule but we’re not going to be fooled and anybody who was protesting last week, and now got an ease and not protesting anymore, then you are not your brother’s keeper”.
To pensioners who received waivers and farmers, Abrahams said, “People spoke out for you, and you got an ease. It is now time, having that ease, to join with the voices of Barbados Labour Party and the other people protesting to ensure that an ease is given for all”.
In addition to the St George meeting, the BLP held a roadside gathering in St George as the party seeks to whip up support for a rally tomorrow.
“It is coming a point in time very soon when we are going to call on the people of Barbados to walk with us,” Abrahams declared.