The Municipal Solid Waste Tax is about to be repealed, and the Opposition Barbados Labour Party is claiming victory.
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler made the announcement but did not say exactly when the relevant bill would come before the House of Assembly for approval.
Among Bills before the House, according to the website of Parliament, is “A Bill entitled An Act to amend the Municipal Solid Waste Tax Act (Act 2014-6) to provide for the extension of the time for the full payment of the solid waste tax; the remittance of the whole of the solid waste tax to certain pensioners; the rate of tax applicable to owners of land being used for agricultural purposes; exemptions under the Act; and other related matters”.
The “other related matters in this case” points to the final clause of amendment that states, “This Act shall expire on the 31st day of March, 2015”.
Opposition Leader Mia Mottley hailed the past date expiration of the tax law as an indication that the march led by her party last July was successful.
Mottley recalled the walk of thousands, without union and private sector support, from Parliament Buildings to Government Headquarters on Bay Street where she delivered a letter of protest to Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, but no response came from the country’s leader.
“But what came this week was the announcement by the Minister of Finance that the tax will be repealed,” she told a party St James South branch meeting Sunday evening.
“Let us make no bones about it. Do you believe that tax would ever have been repealed if the people of Barbados did not speak out in their thousands . . . . If we did not stand up and say, ‘this is disproportionate, this is ill-conceived and excessive’?”
Mottley went on: “Across every class and group in this country people stood tall as one, people didn’t join me on that march because they were Labour Party, people joined me on that march because it was wrong, and the country spoke with one voice.”
She said the victory was instructive to people of the island.
“If there is a lesson for Barbadians to learn is that we can speak up, protest in peace, be courteous about how we do it, but we can be firm about what we feel. And when we do it as one, we can effect change, as change has been effected in other parts of the world.”