News & Current Affairs, CARICOM Affairs - Tuesday, April 28, 2009 14:06
Jamaica: Subdued tax protests ahead of Opposition’s budget replyBy Antillean, News Desk
In Jamaica – Tensions run high after new taxes:
‘Bruce [Golding] you are wicked! You must hang!’
As new taxes announced in Jamaica’s recent budget came into effect yesterday, isolated protests in Kingston and St. Catherine reached fever pitch this morning as the opposition PNP prepares to deliver its first response to the JLP budget today.
This morning, two effigies of Prime Minister Bruce Golding (pictured above) and Finance Minister Audley Shaw were hoisted on Old Hope Road in Kingston, with the former captioned “Bruce you are wicked, you must [hang]”. Meanwhile, residents in the Central Village community are on edge after an early morning protest was shut down by police, after residents blocked the busy Mandela Highway with burning tires. A similar scene obtained along Washington Boulevard as residents there too protested the imposition of taxes on essential staple items, including petrol, salt, rolled oats, drink syrup and noodle soup.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Bruce Golding has turned down a request by the PNP Youth Organisation (PNPYO) to discuss alternatives to the government’s budget, stating that he expected any response to the budget to be outlined by the PNP during the course of the budget debate. PNPYO President, Damion Crawford, however dismissed the Prime Minister’s response as unsatisfactory, stating: “yet again, in his own dictatorial style, [the Prime Minister] has imposed what he believes is right on the people and has refused us audience”. A full list of the items that will now be taxed was only released yesterday – a move that has been widely criticized by observers in the PNP.
Opposition leader Portia Simpson-Miller has given some momentum to today’s protests, and has called for Jamaicans to register their disapproval with the government’s $18bn tax package by wearing black and honking their car horns in protest of the ‘most burdensome tax package ever’.
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