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Vendors Call For VAT Ease

Image of Peter “RasIpa” Isaac

Say It’s Not The Right Time.

ARCADE vendors in Castries are asking on the Castries Constituency Council (CCC) not to introduce the value added tax to their monthly rental fee which is $120. 00 as this would be going against an exemption they say was given to them by the previous government.

The Council recently informed vendors that the monthly rental of booths at the arcade would be moved to $138 as a result of a sales tax effective this month. This was the first time vendors were being billed by the Council hence the introduction of the sales tax.

President of the Vendors Association, Peter “RasIpa” Isaac said that the sales tax is VAT in disguise and urges the Council not to introduce it at this time.

Image of Peter “RasIpa” Isaac
Peter “RasIpa” Isaac [PHOTO: Stan Bishop]
“We definitely are not prepared for that, things are slow. The tourists are coming but they are not really spending. It is not really the right time to do something like that,” Isaac said, referring to the introduction of the tax.

Vendors, Isaac said, are dead set against the tax the primary reason being the exemption granted them by the previous government when the tax was introduced in 2012.

“When VAT was introduced in Saint Lucia we (vendors) were exempted, the government deliberately exempted us. We are micro business persons and this would be too much of a headache for us, for them (Council) to put VAT on our rental. The government has never made an attempt to put VAT on us,” Isaac said.

According to Isaac the Council and the executive of the Vendors Association should have met to discuss the tax first before its implementation. He believes that a period of time should have been given to vendors to prepare them.

“I think the time is not the right time for the sales tax. Its implementation now is ill advised based on the time,” Isaac said, adding that vendors are incensed about the tax and will forward a petition to the Council calling on it to delay implementation.

“Vendors are still saying that the Council must first meet with the executive of the Vendors Association on matters pertaining to them,” Isaac added.

“You have a situation where vendors have accumulated arrears up to a large amount on their rent. Do you think that imposing VAT on them, which will increase their rent will reduce the arrears? This will make them accumulate even more arrears,” Isaac said.

Image of Town Clerk Vaughan Louis-Fernand [PHOTO: By PhotoMike]
Town Clerk Vaughan Louis-Fernand [PHOTO: By PhotoMike]
The Council has admitted that vendors owe over $500,000 in arrears. And according to Town Clerk Vaughan Louis-Fernand the Council has had a discussion on introducing an amnesty for defaulting vendors, but so far this has only been talk. Details have yet to be worked out.

Isaac wants the Council to collect its rent from vendors on a weekly basis rather than monthly as this would be easier for the vendors. He believes that monthly collections led to many vendors going into arrears.

The Council is now re-registering vendors of the arcade, something Isaac has no problems with. Louis-Fernand said that this is necessary because vendors sublet their booths, sometimes to more than one person. Further, some vendors have moved on while others occupy booths that were not made for them. Isaac said that vendors are not averse to the re-registration process.

Micah George is an established name in the journalism landscape in St. Lucia. He started his journalism tutelage under the critical eye of the Star Newspaper Publisher and well known journalist, Rick Wayne, as a freelancer. A few months later he moved to the Voice Newspaper under the guidance of the paper’s recognized editor, Guy Ellis in 1988.

Since then he has remained with the Voice Newspaper, progressing from a cub reporter covering court cases and the police to a senior journalist with a focus on parliamentary issues, government and politics. Read full bio...

4 Comments

  1. Our vendors are not entitled to seek to remain ignorant of the fact that everybody must contribute to the alleviation of the financial miasma in which that communist Kenny et al placed this country. You are not entitled to remain backward and bouchay either.

  2. We doh care which party you following or which party you belong to. Just pay your VAT dues like everybody else. Only then will you have a right to claim injustice, when the fat cats and party yard fowls make malayway pay all de time, whilst they getting away with paying nothing at all. Open you mouth and shout for justice then. But not before you pay your dues.

  3. Some of us always knew that the VAT issue as created by this “without a clue” UWP would sharply polarised the country. At least this tree is already bearing fruits.

    Those of us who follow international news would have heard of how the UK transport minister, Chris Grayling, was caught lying about why he thinks tfl should not be given control of trains in London. At the core of position was party politics. He totally paid no mind to the plight of commuters who have been at the mercy of train companies. I see the same thing in this VAT issue. Chastanet had to keep a promise he made to the electorate. But he HAD TO RECOUP the loss from somewhere else otherwise the country would go into meltdown. What did he do……? Jump on the backs of the small man. That man who, before the last elections, was crying about the plight of the small men and women of St Lucia is now showing no sensitivity to their position. And now we have his blind followers giving him their unconditional support even calling the former PM a communist because he gave a little concession to struggling people. Am I allowed to observe that you all don’t level similar criticisms at those who because of their huge wealth and or level of business get all types of concessions. This is the type of BS that is wrong with society and it highlights who has rights and freedoms and who are without. But more importantly it reveals that those who blindly and unconditionally follow their leaders are the ones who make it possible for the rich to enjoy all the good fruits while the struggling man go without………..always!

    1. The cocomarkaque VAT that the SLP legislated was a political sleight of hand visited upon STEP-adoring low-information processors in the population. The SLP government kept growing budgets deficits yearly, to pay followers for political support for its Castro-like policies, in advance, with money borrowed from local and outside sources.

      The IMF accommodated this foolhardy decision by endorsing STEP, but imposed the economic punishment by visiting upon the country, the necessity of a VAT. Look at the big picture.

      The most robust economy in the world does not operate with a VAT. It has spaghetti income tax legislation. However, as the British say “It works”. As the Americans say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

      The VAT was supposed to be our NEW SYSTEM OF TAXATION, to remove the whole mishmash of consumption taxes.

      The SLP glibly and blissfully replaced that with its own hodge-podge of taxation inconsistencies. It charged the ordinary consumer and man in the street a 15% VAT rate. The wealthy hoteliers faced only an 8% VAT nearly half as much as the fixed- income, ordinary man in the street (Genius!).

      The economy of course collapsed. Economic growth, when not negative, was bouncing at the bottom of the growth curve, at a near rounded 1% per annum level (Economic genius!)

      To recover from this debilitating mal-administration, the consumer sector has be rescued to get small businesses that were shuttered, to open up again. Therefore the VAT needs modification.

      Properly implemented, the VAT was supposed to boost our national productivity. Now, those not too blind to see, now know that the Kenny administration was clueless both about macro-economics and about taxation.

      Even after its miserable failure, economic architect, Mr. Pierre was on mass media regurgitating the refrain that the way to increase revenue was to retain or impose further new taxes, and mindlessly, just like a mantra.

      For real recovery, all sectors in the economy, from market vendor, sole proprietors, limited liability companies, and to corporations must share the burden of the SLP’s disastrous economic single-course and single-degree exposure to economic thinking.

      To put necessary mechanisms in place, it is still too early to categorically state that the present UWP has over-promised, or has under-delivered.

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