Mon | Apr 24, 2017

Not one red cent more, Minister Arscott!

Published:Wednesday | September 16, 2015 | 9:00 AM
Faye Jacobs
Local Government Minister Noel Arscott.
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I refer to an article in The Gleaner dated Friday, September 11, 2015 wherein the minister of local government, Noel Arscott, is proposing that Jamaicans will have to pay more for improvements in their districts to include street lights and roadworks.

What the goodly minister needs to do is to explain to property owners, who have had to face massive increases in property taxes since he came into office, what he has done to uplift communities in exchange for property taxes.

Does he understand the purpose of paying property taxes? Has he ever visited other countries to see what property taxes and parish councils do for the improvement of districts?

If I were the minister, I would be so ashamed of the conditions that prevail in Jamaica.

There are no established parks for children to play, hardly any well-kept community centres, no beautification and regular upgrades to amenities and government establishments that are fee-paying bodies like our markets, and I could go on and on.

Mr Minister, please advise us how much each parish collects in property taxes, how much is not collected, and let us have a detailed statement as to what the taxes were used for by the ministry.

We would also like to know how much is collected by each parish council and, again, a statement of what these funds were used for in respect of the uplift of the parish.

I find this kind of dictatorial approach to be totally unsavoury and spells danger for our people. We are bled daily and there is no accountability from the Government about the use of our tax dollars.

Maybe the minister needs to be engaged in private enterprise to appreciate the burden that is placed on taxpayers and be a contributor to tax revenues rather than depending on taxpayers to pay him and his party faithful.

Parish councils also need to be audited so we can understand why markets and drains are left in deplorable conditions.

There are properties that are paying property tax and they have no roads and no water! Property tax is to be used for the provision of amenities and improvement of communities.

Minister Arscott also needs to be reminded that we also pay a fuel tax, which should be used for roadwork. What has he been doing with that tax?

In 2015, the minister should be wallowing in shame that certain places have no potable water and the roads are not even fit for donkey carts.

After 22 years in power, this is all we can hear. Perhaps we should look at countries like Sweden and Switzerland to see how governments operate in the interest of the citizens. I believe there are times when taxes are given back to citizens when there are surpluses.

I am tempted to get rid of all assets in Jamaica and pay taxes in a country where I can see my tax dollars being used for children, the elderly, and the wider society.

I am sick of more and more taxes. What gives any Government the right to impose taxes and deductions that are used for purposes other than for its citizens and the country? The recent use of the Housing Trust funds is a good example.

We are falling deeper and deeper into a backward form of governance. Come, taxpayers, we need to act decisively to secure accountability from Government, not absorbing the costs of their lifestyles and their party interests.

I am urging all Jamaicans to resist any further exploitation by way of additional taxes until we can get full reports on the use of our tax dollars.

- Faye Jacobs is a former JLP caretaker. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and paradisewestc@gmail.com.