Barbadians who pay land tax will not be required to pay the Value Added Tax (VAT) on their properties if the Bajan Free Party (BFP) has any say in the formulation of Government policy following next week’s general election.
BFP leader Alex Mitchell, whose party is a member of the Coalition of United Parties (CUP) contesting the May 24 poll, today said it was unfair to have people pay both taxes and a CUP Government would abolish the VAT for those who pay the land tax.
“The Government has them paying a land tax and VAT at the same time. Once you have a deed and land tax bill to match, the VAT is supposed to be eliminated. It was only supposed to be in for 18 months, but they have it as part of the fabric of Barbados,” Mitchell said.
“My plan for Barbados is the fact that we will then have clear titles for the land, the banks will stay, people will get a deed for the land. Once you get a deed for the land it will be recorded on your name, not in a lawyers’ office on a desk or in a draw,” he added.
Mitchell, who will contest the St Michael South seat against Prime Minister Freundel Stuart of the Democratic Labour Party, Kirk Humphrey of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), Paul Gibson of Solutions Barbados and Sandra Corbin of the United Progressive Party, complained Barbadians were too heavily taxed.
This, he said, contributed to the faltering economy, and unless the situation improves soon, commercial banks could leave the jurisdiction before the end of this year, complicating the island’s foreign exchange problems.
Mitchell also dismissed recent concerns raised by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Owen Arthur, the country’s former leader, about tax waivers to the father of BLP leader Mia Mottley, arguing that the DLP administration was also guilty of granting tax waivers. Both Stuart and Arthur had given the impression that Mottley might have approved the waiver for her dad, Elliott Mottley, who at an emotional news conference this week made it clear that his daughter had never acted as Minister of Finance, therefore, she had nothing to do with waivers he might have received.
Meantime, Mitchell said any administration to which his party belongs would construct 30,000 new homes capable of withstanding major hurricanes, predicting a fierce storm could strike the island anytime in the near future.
“Once you do that, what are you going to have masons, plumbers, architects, carpenters, well diggers, everybody will be working. That is what we need, people to be working,” he said, adding that this would also encourage more foreign direct investment.
The BFP leader also had a list of complaints, including that those responsible for the CLICO debacle were never brought to justice, and what he said was total disregard for his party by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
“They were calling meetings but were not calling us to let us know about the meetings that they were planning,” he said, adding “I still haven’t received any mail from them at all. They always tell me to come and pick up my mail.
“I am tired of going to them all the time. Every time I need something I got to go to them all the time. Everybody is getting mailings. I am not getting any mailings. Nobody is sending me anything and they know who I am because I write letters to them already and they keep doing what they feel like doing,” he complained.