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#JaVotes2016: Portia says her gov't created conditions for prosperity

Published:Friday | February 19, 2016 | 11:06 PM
PNP president Portia Simpson Miller with Portland East candidate Dr Lynvale Bloomfield (right) and Portland West candidate, Vernon Hemmings.

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

People's National Party (PNP) president Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller on Friday night trumpeted the work of her administration over the past four years saying it has provided a good platform on which the Jamaica Labour Party can campaign.

"It is four years of good economic and fiscal management by the PNP," Simpson Miller said in Port Antonio, Portland East, noting that four years ago, the JLP was promising "bitter medicine" but now it is seeking to preach "prosperity".

According to Dr Lynvale Bloomfield, the PNP's representative for Portland East, long ago, the Simpson Miller-led government tore up the JLP's 'bitter medicine' prescription and administered fiscal discipline.

Meanwhile, Simpson Miller said high investor interest is one sign that her administration has managed the economy well.

She also ripped into the JLP's 'pay day' promise saying, "You can't propose a system where promotion does not guarantee better pay."

"There would be no incentive becoming a supervisor. That plan makes no sense," she said of the JLP's promise to abolish income tax for people earning up to $1.5 million a year, but keeping the threshold of $592,800 for people earning over $1.5 million.

Simpson Miller referenced comments from several economists who have said the JLP's income tax plan would lead to revenue shortfall of about $30 billion which would have to be made up by an increase in the General Consumption Tax (GCT).

"The JLP needs to tell the people by how much they plan to increase GCT," she demanded.

She noted that the PNP increased the income tax threshold three times in the past four years and said people need to be assured that they can aspire to high-paying jobs and still get the benefit of a fair tax system.

"With the PNP government, the income tax system is fair....We will not derail the economic reform programme.  You have sacrificed too much and we have come too far to turn back now," Simpson Miller said.

The PNP is using the meeting in Port Antonio to boost its chances of winning the two seats in Portland.

East Portland has traditionally voted for the PNP while West Portland was held by the Comrades from 1989 to 2007.

Since 2007, the JLP's Daryl Vaz has been MP. 

"You have an important task to send the current MP for West Portland into retirement." Simpson Miller said.

The PNP's Vernon Hemmings is facing Vaz, who is defending an 829-vote margin.

In East Portland, the JLP's Derron Wood will face off with one-term MP, Dr Lynvale Bloomfield.

In 2011, Bloomfield won the seat by 1,246 votes, improving Donald Rhodd's victory margin of 795 in 2007.