PNP's Haughton apologises for GCT comment

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PNP's Haughton apologises for GCT comment

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— Opposition Senator Andre Haughton says he meant no disrespect to this party leadership with statements he made during State of the Nation Debate, last Friday.

In a statement released by Haughton a short while ago, the senator said his presentation was aimed specifically at the state of the nation today and what he called “the inadequate budgetary allocations which have been given to crucial sectors such as health, education and national security.”

“Truthfully, my comments on the GCT (General Consumption Tax) reform has encroached on the party leadership and the Shadow Ministry of Finance and no disrespect was meant by it. As a new member of the Shadow cabinet, I was unaware of previous discussions and decision on tax policy, which falls in the portfolio of the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister of Finance,” Haughton said in his statement.

The senator said that in the future he plans to make himself available to internal party discussions so he is not misunderstood.

In his maiden contribution to the Senate's annual State of the Nation, Senator Haughton, an economist by profession, criticised the appeal by his party leader, Dr Peter Phillips, for a two percentage point reduction in the GCT.

“If we are to reduce GCT by two percentage points, meaning reduce it from 16.5 per cent to 14.5 per cent, it would cost the country $25 billion to $26 billion annually, assuming that every year we take in $200 billion from GCT. This two percentage point [reduction] is going to cost the country $26 billion! That is the average cost. Now what is the benefit to the average Jamaican consumer?" Haughton stated during his speech.

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