BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday June 30, 2014, CMC – Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur, is mobilising members of his constituency to protest payment of a new tax by claiming that they are unable to pay.
The Municipal Solid Waste tax is a new government revenue measure introduced last year as a levy on all Barbados landowners, but Arthur and several members of the opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) have complained that it places another financial burden on Barbadians.
Arthur is seeking to capitalise on a provision in the new law that empowers the Minister of Finance to write off that tax payment for anyone who claims to be facing financial hardship and can prove it.
On Sunday, the former Prime Minister told supporters in his constituency of St Peter to seek out those who can show that the new tax is too much to bear, and write letters on their behalf to the finance minister.
“The people who are going to want relief most from this tax are the people who don’t know about writing no minister, [they] don’t know about using the law to help themselves,” Arthur said.
When announcing his protest plan one week earlier, Arthur said, “I am going to organise my constituency office, and bring all of my key people in St Peter together. And I am going to identify all who are living in house and shed, all the pensioners”.
In a message to Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, he said, “I shall on behalf of the people of St Peter, start assembling a team to make sure that all of my constituents – who I can show are facing undue hardship by this most pernicious piece of backward and bankrupt legislation – that you shall have on your desk, all of the representation of the suffering poor from St Peter who can take it no more”.