The governments of St. Eustatius and Saba formally requested a postponement of the planned increase of the general sales tax ABB during a meeting with the Ministry of Finance in The Hague last week. This writes The daily Herald. Commissioners of Constitutional Affairs Reginald Zaandam of St. Eustatius and Chris Johnson of Saba handed over a letter to the ministry’s representatives in which they urgently asked for a postponement of the ABB increase by two per cent points, which is planned for January 1, 2016.
This increase, which will be brought up to the level of that of Bonaire, will raise the ABB on services by 50 per cent and 33 per cent for the delivering of goods. “That means that the already considerable difference in the cost of living between Bonaire and the Windward Islands will further increase,” stated Zaandam and Johnson. According to the commissioners, the increase will be disastrous for the social-economic development of the two Windward Islands. They warned that the private sector would be forced to transfer the higher cost to the consumer, considering their “already marginal circumstances. “The cost of living, which is already unacceptably high, will further increase, which will cause more poverty among the local people,” stated Zaandam and Johnson, who ironically pointed out that since the 2011 agreement to increase the ABB in St. Eustatius and Saba in 2016 the “social economic circumstances have not become much better.”
In the islands’ opinion, The Hague should not only look at what has been agreed upon by law, but to also take the current economic circumstances into consideration. “An increase at this time will result in a deterioration of the social-economic circumstances, while the multi-annual programme for the Caribbean Netherlands aims to improve exactly these circumstances.” The commissioners therefore asked the Finance Minister to take the situation into consideration when political decisions are made after the results of the 2015 constitutional evaluation are known. They stated that postponement of the 2016 Tax Plan stood to reason, seeing the timing of the evaluation and the time that was needed to take a political decision.
The Statia and Saba governments will now await a formal reply from the Finance Minister. Zaandam and Johnson were in the Netherlands last week for a number of meetings, including a gathering with the Caribbean Netherlands EvaluationCommittee to kick off the research phase of the 2015 evaluation.
Ridiculous to increase taxes without adjusting finances on all levels. I would never have thought I would say, this but why is Holland seeking such measures on the islands population? Every time I read about more taxes I am reminded of what a collosal mistake they made in Suriman econonically. I guess some lessons are never learned. I defended the Dutch and supported them in 2010, but every year since then they dissapoint my intelligence.
The SBA has written countless protest letters to the second chamber and other parties involved. I personally met all delegations and explained the situation. We have informed the ministries about it and since I’m very much involved in it I can tell you that one minister doesn’t know what the other does. Also, we have not only friends over there. The representatives of the ministry of economic affairs wonder themselves what is going on. They not even stop during the evaluation period and they don’t seem to know what burden they put on the island population. They are talking about increasing the purchasing power and reducing the poverty. That will not work like this. The cost of running a business has increased and daily they put up more red tape. All these senseless acts are not helping. There jingles on Radio about “working together” are just hollow words. They never stick to it. In 2015 the work permit fees go up more than 100%, the vastgoebelasting as well will be increased and in 2016 they plan the increase of ABB service and import. I’m pretty sure they will find more fees and taxes they can raise.