Minister of Transport and Works Michael Lashley is dismissing the Barbados Labour Party’s (BLP) manifesto proposal to abolish road taxes as another fake promise.
When the BLP launched its manifesto in Kingsland, Christ Church last night, its economic advisor Dr Clyde Mascoll announced that the party would replace the road tax with a small levy on petrol.
However, Lashley was not at all impressed, questioning how the Mia Mottley-led BLP would achieve the proposed road tax plan and its replacement.
“How are they going to get it done? But of course it’s another fake promise,” Lashley said.
“We have to wait and see. It’s like an election gimmick as far as I am concerned,” Lashley added, stating that the BLP should instead look to further strengthen the Road Traffic Act to ensure road users pay the tax.
When Mascoll addressed the party faithful last night, he said in the spirit of equity, commercial vehicles which are more than average users of the roads would be required to pay more under the BLP’s petrol proposal.
“We currently have something called a road tax. Do you know that road tax for a commercial vehicle is only $400 while those of you who have bigger vehicles have to pay $900 and all sort of thing? That has to change because the tax does not make sense,” Mascoll said.
“We are abolishing the road tax. However we can’t be irresponsible, so what we are going to do is shift the tax towards the business community. Those people who use the road most should pay most. It is called equity and justice. We are going to transfer the road tax to a small tax on fuel so those that are on the road all day with heavy vehicles would pay proportionally,” he added, evoking sustained applause from the massive crowd.
The BLP economist further explained that the manifesto pledges were the product of two years of research, and all of its costs had been accounted for.
However, Lashley suggested that the BLP should instead be looking to further strengthen the Road Traffic Act to ensure road users pay the tax.
“That is what the ministry is doing at this time. We are basically looking at a very strong strategic plan to ensure that there is strict compliance with the law,” he added.