Mon | Mar 27, 2023

Gas tax and political expediency

Published:Saturday | February 20, 2010 | 12:00 AM


AS I watched the news on a major television channel on February 18, and heard of the gas tax being used for loan repayment to the Chinese Government, and the most political, nonsensical and disrespectful response being given by Mike Henry to the breach of the public's trust, I became anxious. What about the man who is unable to read or write when he feels like I do? I can attempt writing like now! How does he respond?

Though I fully understand the need for the speedy wholesale repair to our road network and the airport peninsular, in principle, that was not the purpose of the gas tax, and they should have returned to the people first. This is how successive governments have been using taxpayers' money to suit their own political agenda and not that of the people.

Nation bankrupt

If the tax was used as intended, the roads would be fixed quite slowly, and I am not even certain it would be slow if used efficiently. The act of the minister of transport is the very reason the nation is so very bankrupt and is being plunged further therein. Let us repair the road network with all the gas tax due and payable in a timely manner and not use political expediency to plunge us further over the precipice. This government, while in opposition, had promised to spend prudently. Let this not be another promise that goes abegging, let us stop spending 20 to 30 years in advance.

Independent oversight body

It is easier for taxpayers to understand the use of the gas tax, which allows less room for the usual leakage and manipulation of figures, than it is for the common man with the larger sum from the Chinese. It is high time that an independent oversight body be put in place to approve and monitor all loan applications made and received on behalf of the Jamaican people by this and successive governments, including the gas tax as, apparently, the Parliament - the lawmaking arm of the Government - is being used as a rubber stamp.

How can a minister come to Parliament and ask the House to pass a law in respect of the gas tax, positing that it will be used to fix roads, and Parliament, having passed such a bill, the minister then turn around and use the funds collected contrary to the purpose, without any sanction or repercussion?

It is high time that all monies collected in the name of the Jamaican people be used exclusively for intended purpose to the benefit of all.

I am, etc.,

Clive Samuels