Letter of the Day | Holness, Shaw have lost morality on NHT
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The explanation given to the nation by Prime Minister Holness and Finance Minister Shaw regarding their use of funds from the NHT to back up the budget is an insult to the nation.
The approach of Mr Shaw is not only ridiculous, it gives the impression that Mr Shaw has taken this entire nation to be incapable of basic thought process.
It was Mr Shaw's party, while in opposition, that took the then PNP administration to court after they dipped in the NHT funds. At the time, a very emotional and high-pitched Shaw declared the act to be one of stealth and rape of poor people money. Mr Holness then gave his solemn word that his party would not interfere with NHT funds.
AN INSULT TO CONTRIBUTORS
For Mr Shaw to now tell us that his party's action of dipping in the NHT funds is grounded in the fact that they are not just persons who 'tek-tek' and don't give back anything is spurious and an insult to all of us.
The issue is not whether the JLP administration is giving back something or not. The bigger issue is one of morality, honesty and truthfulness. A promise was made to the country that the incoming JLP party was capable of giving a $1.5-million tax break without additional taxes.
Mr Shaw and his colleagues have not kept their word and it has turned out the promise was a sham. It was a lie knowingly and willingly told to the electorate to obtain their votes.
No matter how Mr Shaw and Mr Holness may try to sideline the issue, the fact remains that they gave their word. They owe the people of Jamaica an apology. Over and over, our citizens have been found to be vulnerable to get-rich-quick schemes. It is for this reason so many of us were burnt by Olint and Cash Plus.
The promise of a $1.5-million tax waiver, without additional taxes being imposed, has turned out to be an Olint-Cash Plus-type scheme mounted on the electorate.
It probably gained them the victory in the last election and is therefore no different from the millions in US and local currency that Olint and Cash Plus were able to get from several Jamaicans who fell for get-rich-quick schemes.
Those governing us must bear an air of honesty, truthfulness and trust. Where there are breaches to these values, those governing us should be prepared to be frank, apologise, and move on.
Mr Holness, Mr Shaw and the rest of the administration should be big enough to come clean and be frank with us. It would be more believable if Mr Holness had said having now formed the Government, he has realised that the $1.5m waiver cannot be implemented without additional taxes. He should then proceed to tell us that he underestimated the requirements for the scheme to be implemented and ask us for his forgiveness.
Should Mr Holness do this, he would turn out to be the biggest man in Jamaica today.
Telling us that it is in the national interest for him to dip in the NHT funds sounds like he is taking us all for fools. At no time during the election campaign did he give any hint or indication that this would be done.
Mr Holness, Mr Shaw and members of the administration should use this opportunity to be truthful and to encourage us to believe politicians can be relied on or taken at their word.
LINTON P. GORDON
Ocho Rios, St Ann