Central Basseterre Labour Party Branch conducts VAT education

Hon Marcella Liburd addressing members at the Labour Party Central Basseterre constituency meeting at Masses House.

St. Kitts (June 21, 2010) – Parliamentary Representative for Central Basseterre and Federal Minister of Health Hon Marcella Liburd, on Thursday June 17 informed members of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party constituency branch that knowledge is power and demonstrated it by organising a successful member education session on VAT.

At the branch’s monthly meeting, held every third Thursday of the month at Masses House, Church Street, two officials from the Tax Reform Unit, Garry Thomas and Nekisha Evans, explained in finer details how the VAT (value added tax) to be introduced in November will affect them and the country on a whole.

The two officials who were invited by Hon Liburd told the members that once the new tax is introduced, everyone will be liable to pay, but advised them (public) to be on a lookout for business persons who would charge VAT on zero-rated items, and how to identify business places that are registered to collect VAT.

A member asked them how the new tax would apply to items bought from the neighbouring island of St. Maarten, and in reply Garry Thomas informed her that since the new tax will replace a number of taxes, “with VAT you will be paying a lower rate. It will be cheaper if you are the one doing the importation.”

Tax Reform Unit officials, Nekisha Evans (left) and Garry Thomas educate the constituency members on VAT. On the right is Parliamentary Representative and Minister of Health, Hon Marcella Liburd.

Hon Marcella Liburd informed that at the meeting they also discussed issues at the branch level including membership cards for the members in the constituency, and the organisation of a branch constituency conference, which she said that the first one was held last December, but the second one will not be held in December. A date will be set.

“We are trying to organise a savings scheme for our members, bearing in mind what is going on in the world financially,” said Hon Liburd. “We are trying to encourage people to save, so we are trying one of the saving schemes for the members, where we encourage them to save something for a rainy day.”

Members supported the idea of turning the constituency office on Central Street into a learning centre. According to the parliamentary representative, computer classes for members will be undertaken at the learning centre and at the moment they are sourcing some computers. English classes targeting the Spanish community will be offered at the centre, as that has been an area of need.

The branch also explored the possibility of running an events management course to help the young people who are organising a number of functions, but do not have enough skills to organising them successfully. “We want to be able to give them the skills,” stated Hon Liburd.

She also noted that Young Labour members have an invitation from the St. Vincent Labour Party, and are expected to travel to the OECS country around the first of July, and about 30 and 35 will be making the trip. A camp will be held in McKnight area for children ages 5-12, and she encouraged parents to bring their children for the camp which will be held in August, although the dates had not been set.

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