Member of Parliament George Pantophlet is not surprised by the decision of the UP/DP coalition


Member of Parliament George Pantophlet is not surprised by the decision of the UP/DP coalition government’s decision to scrap the proposed plans to increase the turnover tax (ToT) on tobacco and alcohol and write off of back taxes up to December 2006.


And apparently the way forward will be presented by the Minister of Finance Martin Hassink to the council of Ministers. In other words as of the present moment nothing has been prepared as yet. The Member of Parliament does not know if it is a personal opinion of the newspaper or a statement from government. But in the article it is stated and he quotes: The main reason for not going through with a two percent in crease in the legislation to make the increase and the collection possible is not ready" end of quote. What then is the other reason? Legislation can still be prepared in time for the 2014 Budget which in accordance with Article 100 section 3 of the Constitution of St. Maarten which states as follows: "The government shall submit the budget to the Parliament in one or more drafts no later than September 1. So there is still 3 weeks left to do so. The other matter the Member of Parliament is querying is the freezing of the hiring of personnel. It is either there is a freeze or there is none. One cannot state on the one hand that there is a freeze and on the other hand say if a ministry wants to hire it has to be justified and properly documented by the department wanting to hire. The word freeze should not be mentioned because it is not realistic. What this government has to be careful with is that civil servants are already overburdened with work, will find themselves having to carry more of the workload in those critical functions that are not filled. This will lead to exhaustion, stress and increase in sick leave which will in turn hamper the proper functioning of government. The Member of Parliament said he is sure this cannot be the intention of the UP/DP coalition government. Another matter the Member of Parliament took note of was that no mention was made as to the legislation on the increasing of casino and lottery fees which have remained the same for some 20 years. He understood they were being worked on but never finalized.