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Deception! Chang says unexpected taxes breached public's trust

Published:Thursday | February 14, 2013 | 12:00 AM


General Secretary of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Dr Horace Chang, yesterday declared that the party was deeply concerned about the quality of the country's governance and "the deceptive nature of the Government".

Chang said in a release that the Government's recent actions represent a fundamental breach of trust between the Government and the people of Jamaica.

The JLP general secretary's comments were in reaction to Finance Minister Dr Peter Phillips' announcement on Tuesday of a massive $15.9-billion tax package on the heels of the first Supplementary Estimates for the current financial year.

Chang accused the Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller-led administration of damaging the relationship between the Government and almost every stakeholder group, including civil society, trade unions, the private sector and the Opposition.

"The prime minister and the minister of finance spoke to the nation less than 24 hours before the new tax measures were announced, but made no effort to prepare the nation, or to give any warning of what was to be expected," Chang said.

"They had been meeting with all stakeholders and, to our understanding, gave no indication of what was to come.The Government's actions in Parliament (Tuesday) were completely inconsistent with the Government's calls for unity and cooperation and the nation's current mood."


Chang maintained that in the interest of Jamaica, the JLP would not go down the path of being the Government's nightmare, nor would it allow the Government to use the JLP as an excuse for its failures.

He said the party was in the process of consulting with various stakeholders, including the party's supporters, to develop a plan of action in response to the Government's actions.

"We have started consultations with our base and we plan in the coming days to have discussions with the private sector, trade unions and other groups."

The JLP general secretary said the party would give further details on its response to the Government's actions today during a press conference at the party's Belmont Road headquarters in New Kingston.