Sat | Aug 18, 2018

The sin is Peter Phillips’

Published:Wednesday | August 8, 2018 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Former Finance Dr Peter Phillips erred when he failed to deliver on his promise to Jamaicans to have the special consumption tax (SCT) on fuel imposed by him in 2015 flow through to an Energy Stabilisation Fund.

Having failed to establish this fund in law, unfortunately he now has no legs to stand on how the proceeds should be used. Once revenues flow to the Consolidated Fund, they can be legitimately used by the Government of the day to finance expenditure as approved by the Houses of Parliament.

The Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) Audley Shaw and Aubyn Hill protested loudly and persistently about the purchase of the oil-hedge contracts in 2015 given, in their view, the likelihood that oil prices would not reach the levels required to trigger a payout to Jamaica in the 18-month period of the contracts, and the amounts involved - $3b paid to financial institutions. They proved to be correct on this.

Phillips, however, having had the tax paid into the Consolidated Fund, while the JLP's leadership campaigned on using such proceeds for their flagship '1.5' policy were, and are, under no obligation to implement something that they publicly disagreed with and campaigned against. On the contrary, democratic principle empowers them to implement what they campaigned on.

To pretend otherwise is to take Jamaicans for fools. Cynically seeking to subvert the democratic process will greatly compound Peter's sin.

STEPHEN EDWARDS

G2K President