Caribbean News in Brief for July 21, 2011


Kingston, Jamaica: A Parliamentary Committee has been set up to review the government’s proposals for tax reform, which are slated to take effect on January 1, 2012.

Prime Minister Bruce Golding is hoping the nine-member committee can come up with improvements to the current tax system, which he says is still a major deterrent to the kind of investment that the country needs.

“I hope that the Committee can assist us in arriving at a system that is more equitable, and a system that is more conducive to investment and growth, and job creation,” he said.

The Committee will be chaired by Finance Minister Audley Shaw. The other members are Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Dr. Ken Baugh; Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Robert Montague; Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce Dr. Christopher Tufton; Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett; and MPs Dr. Peter Phillips, Dr. Omar Davies, Fitz Jackson and Anthony Hylton.

A Green Paper on tax reform was tabled in May. It seeks to address the inefficiencies and complications in the country’s tax system, enhance compliance levels, broaden the tax base and simplify the overall revenue system.

The last major tax reform took place from 1986 to 1991, when the General Consumption Tax (GCT) was introduced with various reform measures, some from the 2004 Matalon Tax Policy Review which was implemented in 2005.


Kingston, Jamaica: Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Dr. Christopher Tufton, has instructed a temporary closure of the scrap metal trade.

All exporters with inventories on hand must collect their containers from the ports no later than Friday, July 22, 2011. These must be packed and returned to the port by July 29. Thereafter, no new scrap metal will be accepted at the port.

The Jamaica Manufacturers Association (JMA) is supporting the decision.

“We welcome it very much, we appreciate the quick, decisive action by the minister,” said JMA president Brian Penngelley.


Kingston, Jamaica: The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), which is administering Census 2011, says it is working assiduously to meet its July 31 deadline despite difficulties in accessing some urban buildings and centres across the island.

Sonia Jackson, the Director of STATIN, says gated communities, apartment buildings and individuals continue to pose a challenge for census takers.

However, Jackson said all the data has to be compiled by March next year and so the field work must be concluded by the end of the month.

Jackson is pleading with citizens to cooperate with census takers.

“We are pushing for everybody to respond and all the supervisors and census takers and area coordinators to go out there and try and blitz it to make sure we come out of the field by the end of July,” she said.


St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda: The European Commission has approved a grant of US$4.1 million to further initiatives aimed at strengthening revenue administration and public financial management in Antigua and Barbuda.

The grant will largely be used to continue the technical assistance and capacity building which are integral to both areas of reform.

The country will have to meet specific timelines and reporting requirements for the continuation of the initiatives, when the funding becomes available at the end of August.

During the week under review, senior officials of the Ministry of Finance participated in a video conference with the European Commission’s Barbados Office.

Also involved in the exchange were the Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre, the Office of Technical Management at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and the IMF’s Fiscal Affairs Department.

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