Mon | Apr 6, 2020

Phillips says poverty increase a result of bad JLP policies

Published:Thursday | August 15, 2019 | 12:26 AMGareth Davis Sr/Gleaner Writer

Port Antonio, Portland:

Opposition Leader Dr Peter Phillips has charged that the ruling Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) has led the country into a state of poverty, which has resulted in the poorest people bearing the greatest share of the taxation package.

Addressing People’s National Party (PNP) supporters in Port Antonio, Portland, on Sunday, Phillips argued that instead of reaping the fruits of prosperity as promised by the JLP in its 2016 election campaign, Jamaicans were now tasting the bitter medicine Prime Minister Andrew Holness warned of in 2011.

“One thing is clear across Jamaica today: that the Labour Party Government led by Andrew Holness has failed miserably in delivering benefits and opportunities to the Jamaican people,” Phillips said. “Instead of prosperity growing, what has been growing is poverty in the country. When you go grocery shop now, you haffi a carry you pen and paper or add up as you go along, or you haffi beg the cashier subtotal every five thing weh you get because you cyaa take the embarrassment say you cyaa pay for what you need.”

The PNP president laid the blame for the increase in poverty recorded for 2017 squarely at the feet of the Holness administration, making reference to the administration’s move to make good on an election promise to increase the personal income tax threshold from $592,800 to $1.5 million in under two years.

“And nuh make [dem] gwaan like the poverty a just bad luck. The poverty results from bad policies. The first ting weh dem do, dem promise 1.5 and say dem nu haffi tax. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) tell dem say, if you going to do it, you haffi tax. And then dem bring a tax dem say dem doing indirect tax. Dat mean say now, the people – the poorest people in the country – have to bear the greatest share of the taxation that dem put inside deh,” he added.

Phillips, who was addressing PNP supporters at a social gathering in East Portland on Sunday, also blamed the Holness administration for the sharp increase in crime and violence, which, according to him, is creating widespread fear among ordinary law-abiding Jamaicans.