June 5, 2019
I often meet persons who say that they are not hearing me and that I am too quiet. I have also heard it said by some that I talk too much. These are things that are part of the political culture which I have learnt to accept. There are many reasons for writing this article which I will articulate briefly.
It is said that repetition is important as this allows your point to be remembered. But sometimes I wonder. I read the article entitled and I quote “Gebe to present proposal on reducing light bills at schools”. Some of you who have been following my political career would recognize that on matters of Gebe, I have on numerous occasions asked the question as to why Gebe is charging schools commercial rates.
And since Gebe plans to address this issue, I think it would be prudent not to only deal with light bills but also water bills. Arguments am sure can and will arise as to the reduction in revenues for Gebe but one should also consider the reduction in costs for government since they are the ones subsidizing the schools.
I know It is important to be consistent at the same time I ask myself are they listening (people and government). Prior to obtaining separate status I had asked for a consumer protection agency to be established. I had asked to cancel the 10year tax holiday for investors and instead institute a reduce tax rate for them. I had also asked that locals be given a 5year tax holiday which according to my knowledge has never been done.
Another thing I learnt while serving as a member of the Parliament of the Netherlands Antilles was the issue of tax evasion and a probable solution for such. I brought it up in our parliament. It had to do with businesses/persons who have accounts abroad created with funds earned in the then Netherlands Antilles but did not pay their taxes.
The idea was to have them return these funds at a reduced tax rate and free of penalties. I had also asked that government assist persons who had land but no finances to do their agriculture. I had also asked that when it came to the minimum wage it should be increased but price control on products should be more strictly enforced.
I had asked for the basket of goods to be increased. I have also asked about the casino gaming board not knowing that such discussion has been taking place before I got involved in politics. I had asked why casinos are paying the same fees which were not changed since 1989 and that if they refuse to accept the increase to give government insight into their daily earnings (the drop box). I heard then that there were court cases ongoing relating to these fees.
I had also asked why government owned companies were not paying dividends. And one I would consider the most important which was proposed by the National Alliance and supported by USP the infamous short term contract better known as the 6 month’s contract. It has been years since the draft law was made up and after several changes it is still in incubation. I can almost hear some questioning about the presenting of motions?
My response they die a slow death. Some might ask what about law proposals, my response if they are approved and government does not feel like executing them, they too die a slow death. The parliament is apparently powerless. (Our Constitution needs to be adapted to deal with this stalemate).
Our people have not learned the art of persuasion. (Peaceful protest). We are the tax payers, why are we so passive? These are the few that I can remember. Forgive me as I add one more. A law giving the rent committee after it has been reinforced and restructured, more authority to determine what one can charge for rental income. Hope this goes somewhere.