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School tax problems a disgrace, says PNP

Monday, April 16, 2018

KINGSTON, Jamaica — The People's National Party (PNP) says it is alarmed at what it describes as the 'disgraceful misplaced priorities' of the Ministry of Education, which have led to some principals of high schools being prosecuted for non-payment of taxes as reported in the Sunday Gleaner.

“Surely, the Ministry of Education must have known of the summonses and could have intervened to arrange settlement, said Opposition Spokesman on education Ronald Thwaites in a release from the party today.

The PNP is calling for an apology to all affected high school principals for "the time wasting and humiliation caused by the inefficiencies and misplaced priorities of the Ministry of Education".

The Opposition spokesman pointed out that during the last administration, arrangements were made for all school employee taxes to be deducted at source and all arrears were to have been certified and cleared up.

“What could have happened since 2016 that such issues are still outstanding?”

The PNP said it understands that several schools have been complaining that money for replacement teachers has not been forthcoming promptly from the Ministry of Education and the need to meet the demands at the institutions have put their meager resources under intolerable strain.

“We call on the Minister of Education to immediately rectify this untenable situation as our schools and our children's education are at risk,” Thwaites said.

“Further, now that the Jamaica Labour Party policy has deprived schools of the measure of flexibility which auxiliary fees provided without adequate replacement, it is the responsibility of the Ministry of Education to indemnify the schools of all their outstanding tax