Mr Elroy Boucher, President of the Public Service Union (PSU), says he hopes that the Unity Labour Party administration can come up with measures to relieve the tax burden on Vincentians.
Compared to the other independent Eastern Caribbean States, St Vincent and the Grenadines remain the only countries without a formal citizenship by investment (CBI) programme.
The governing political bodies, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and the Unity Labour Party (ULP), are divided by the sheer volume of opposed opinions towards the CBI programmes, which have an immense affect on the taxes for their citizens as well as the government budget.
Mr Boucher endorses the CBI programmes as do the NDP, agreeing that by supporting the programme benefits, not only the citizens, but helps fund a significant chunk of the national budget. In contrast to this, the opposing ULP argue that the programme enforces and encourages a higher rate of passports to be sold on the black market.
Mr Boucher voiced his support for CBI programme at a PSU press conference on Wednesday 28th February 2018, saying;
“… I’ve heard the opposition put forward the suggestion that the government can make use of the citizenship by investment programme. And I just can’t understand the reluctance to get involved. Every OECS country is using this programme and it is financing a great part of their budget,”
“St. Kitts is the leader, I think, in this regard. It is financing a great part of their budget. This programme has allowed these governments to lower the taxes on their people… St. Kitts has been voted the least corrupt country within CARICOM. The least corrupt and they are running this programme,”
As quoted by Mr Boucher, he is “mind-boggled” by the ULP’s stance on CBI programmes and continued to add;
“ … we elect you to govern and govern in a responsible way to make our living conditions better.”
The PSU union leader continued to debate that rather than taking the advice of the opposition, the government;
“would rather find ways of taxing workers, the citizens. And I am of the view that a responsible government needs to listen to all of the ideas and see how best they can put policies in place to relieve the burden, the financial burden of workers and their families.”
In its “People’s Budget” response to the national budget in January, the opposition restated its support for a CBI programme.