Saturday, 16 April 2011
Hon. Evans McNiel Rogers, Leader of the Opposition and Elected Member for Valley North, today wrote to the Clerk to the House of Assembly requesting the Speaker to convene an urgent meeting of the House of Assembly to repeal the Interim Stabilization Levy Act recently passed in the House on March 24 2011.
In his letter the Leader of the Opposition expressed the view that it would be “impossible to implement the Levy in a manner that would be fair to all concerned.” He also explained that “efforts by the Government to discuss the implementation of the Levy have met with a great deal of public outcry because of real issues of inequity, fairness and compliance”. He therefore suggested that the process for repealing the Levy should be completed before the first payments become due and payable by the end of April. The Speaker was therefore requested to convene a meeting on a convenient date before Friday April 29, 2011.
The Motion by the Leader of the Opposition reads as follows:-
WHEREAS the Interim Stabilisation Levy Bill was approved by the House of Assembly (HoA) on March 24 2011 with 2 members abstaining, 5 members supporting, 2 members opposing and 1 member of government not voting;
AND WHEREAS it is a stated policy of the Government of Anguilla to seek thorough and complete public consultation on proposed laws before they are debated in the HoA, as was the case with the Education Bill and the Domestic Violence Bill;
AND WHEREAS the Interim Stabilisation Levy Act seeks to impose a tax on the income of the persons working in Anguilla without having had adequate public consultation before the Bill was brought to the HoA for debate and approval;
AND WHEREAS the Comptroller of Inland Revenue referring to the Bill admitted in the Anguillian of Friday 8th April 2011 that “... even though the bill has been passed, there are still quite a lot of operational procedures that need to be worked out” and that “it was such a rush and we are still working out the nitty-gritty of the Bill...”;
AND WHEREAS the Act only seeks to raise EC$9.7M annually in revenue, an amount that can be raised by more equitable measures;
AND WHEREAS the tax imposed by the said Act is inequitable giving the larger income earners in Anguilla the biggest relief, while causing the middle to lower income brackets to bear the greater impact of the Levy;
AND WHEREAS the said Levy will criminalised innocent Anguillians if they inadvertently breach the strict provisions of the Act;
AND WHEREAS the Act gives to Comptroller of Inland Revenue and other authorised officials the authority to assess ones earnings, which assessment may be done by examining the personal banks accounts of individuals;
AND WHEREAS there continues to be more questions than answers and significant “loopholes” relating to the Act as is evident from the open discussions with the public on the implementation of the Act;
BE IT RESOLVED that the Interim Stabilisation Levy Act be repealed and the GOA of Anguilla enter immediate negotiations with the British Government to arrive at a longer period of time in which to balance the budget, thus alleviating the need for such stringent and inequitable tax measures to be imposed on the people of Anguilla during this time of economic hardship;
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that Government of Anguilla in keeping with Anguilla Fiscal And Economic Recovery Plan, 2009 – 2011 establish a broad base Tax Commission to undertake a comprehensive review of Anguilla’s Tax regime by the end of June 2011.
The Leader of the Opposition and his colleague the Hon Othlyn Vanterpool, Elected Member for Island Harbour had expressed strong opposition to the enactment of the Bill during the debates in the House of Assembly. They both held the view that there was not sufficient public consultation and that generally the Levy was more burdensome on the lower and middle-income earners. They also raised issues related to the compliance process and particularly as these relate to the self- employed.
Mr. Rogers noted that the decision to call an urgent meeting of the House is entirely left to the discretion of the Speaker, but he expected in such matters she would be inclined to consult with the Leader of Government Business, the Hon. Chief Minister, to make such a determination. He further emphasized that a date for the meeting must be before the first payment under the Act is due and payable at the end of the month.
Anguilla United Front Information Department
Caribbean Commercial Center Suite 29
April 15 2011
Posted by Realist Spikenice at 09:40