Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler is not moved by the 3,000 plus supporters involved in today’s Barbados Labour Party (BLP) protest to press for repeal of the controversial Municipal Solid Waste Tax.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY following today’s march, which started at Heroes Square and ended at Government Headquarters, Bay Street, Sinckler said while he acknowledged the efforts of Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, it was not enough to convince anyone that the tax should be withdrawn.
In fact, he said he believed former Prime Minister Owen Arthur’s method of dealing with the tax was precisely how such issues should be handled, pointing out that Government had already made interventions and adjustments to the tax.
“Appeals have come in and we have been dealing with them as expeditiously as we can. There was one particular group that we have helped in the circumstances,” said Sinckler, in reference to the recent changes made to the levy.
He also said today’s march was not only about repeal of the tax, but also for the imposition of a tax on water, which will not be supported by the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Asked to comment on the turnout for the event, Sinckler said: “Large is relative. To an ant a dog is large but to a dog an elephant is huge. There are 80 thousand property owners who would have received tax demand notices. Would you consider 3,000 of 80,000 to be large? he asked.
However, he went on to state that “the numbers thing is not important. What is important is the purpose of the tax which is to assist us with the management of the cost of dealing with the solid waste and that’s the basic purpose.
“Everybody accepts that there is a major solid waste problem in Barbados . . . . The disagreement seems to be about the type of tax that you utilize and that way it is six of one, half dozen or the other or the next.”
He warned: “You are still going to have to impose some type of tax and that’s the point Kerrie Symmonds [made] before he had his road to Damascus experience between last Sunday and today. I agree with him, and unfortunately he seems not to agree with his own self, but the fact of the matter is, at the end of the day, whether it is B or D, Chris Sinckler or Mia Mottley, this Minister of Finance or another one, a charge is going to have to be placed,” he added.
He said while today’s exercise may have given promotion to the Opposition Leader and her internal battles with the labour party leadership, at the end of the day this Government was trying to solve a problem that “they [the BLP] created”.