Parliamentarians engaged in a meeting of the House of Representatives today in Belmopan, Cayo District. Coming up in the exchange between the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition had to do with the amalgamation of the General Sales Tax Department and the Income Tax Department. In today’s meeting, the establishment of a Belize Tax Service Department was on the agenda which gave way to Briceno to speak of the purging of both the GST and income Tax Departments which we had reported some weeks ago. Here is how that exchange went.
Leader of the Opposition John Bricenio: “But the concern Madam Speaker that I have is that some members from the GST and Income Tax Department have been expressing some concern and the concern is that all of them are being told that you could either apply for early retirement or you can apply to stay for the city, in the same department, for that same position or apply for another post in the department. The concern here Madam Speaker is that there is a feeling within members of staff from the both Income Tax and GST. It is almost like the government is taking the opportunity to kind of purge out people whom they feel do not support them. I am not going to mention names right here Madam Speaker but the person has already been designated to be the Deputy Income Tax, the contract is up but they are renewing the contract with somebody that is very closely connected to a family member of the Prime Minister. The Deputy who is going to be appointed again for the GST section, this contract is up and again and the feeling is that the contract is going to be renewed. It is another person that is very close to another Minister within the government. Our concern is that why is it that all of these high profile UDP’s are being appointed and our concern is that I hope that they are not going to take that as an opportunity to punish our enemies and reward the friends.”
Honorable Prime Minister Dean Barrow: “To get into the question of personalities and to suggest that the exercise will be used as some kind of instrument for political leverage that the government would seek to punish enemies and reward friends. Madam Speaker that is outrageous and what compounds the outrage is the fact that the Leader of the Opposition has no kind of evidence to support this.”
In today’s meeting the Government of Belize went to the House to seek approval for alone million dollar contribution to the Belize Multilateral Fund. This was presented by Minister of Finance, Prime Minister Dean Barrow.