Sen. Fred Mitchell
Chairman of The Progressive Liberal Party
Leader of Opposition Business – Senate
Opposition spokesman on Foreign Affairs & Shadow Attorney General
For Immediate Release
21 May 2020
The advice in The Tribune of 19 May 2020, given by Robert Myers of Organization for Responsible Governance, who admitted to cheating Customs on its taxes, is not welcomed and best kept to himself. He is fond of prescribing painful remedies for others but does not apply the same pain to himself. It would be useful if the press would stop promoting these unworthy views, the economic theories of which have long since been debunked and they have been proven to be immoral in their impacts.
Mr. Myers is just plain wrong in his recollection of history when he claims that the expenditure of past administrations kicked the can down the road to unsustainable national debt. Speaking for the PLP, going all the way back to 1967, we came to office meeting an education system and a health care system badly underfunded. There was no social security system. Public infrastructure like power, potable water, bridges, roads and telecommunications were all underfunded or non existent. The expenditure on those items of which he now complains created all of those modern amenities.
Secondly as to his theory of economics that we should reduce public sector employment: this will result in further shrinking the country’s tax base and reducing consumption expenditure which drives the public revenue. The Government of the FNM has done some foolish things, but not even Hubert Minnis and Peter Turnquest are that foolish.
You want to carry out public policies that increase consumption and raise the revenue and grow the economy, not policies which do the opposite.
Government expenditure or spending is clearly not the problem. The Minister of Works says he needs 500 million this fiscal year to carry out necessary public works. That amount would be a substantial boost to the economy. Guess what though, the Minister of Works complains that he will not get it because there is no money.
Why is there no money? The Acting Financial Secretary told us this week that our country collects only 18 per cent of GDP in taxes whereas the average for our hemisphere is near to 25 per cent.
We don’t collect enough revenue. That’s the issue, not expenditure.
Which brings us back to where we began, if Mr Myers had paid his taxes to Customs, he would have helped the revenue collection and on Wednesday 19 May 2020, The Tribune would have had something else to write about.