Debate Or Debacle? Editorial There was a very interesting debate in the House of Assembly during Independence Week, as Government and Opposition debated a Bill entitled the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, FATCA. The immediate past Prime Minister seemed opposed to the Bill, which, if we understand correctly, was under contemplation for over five years but was not moved forward. The current Prime Minister has moved it into law within seven months in office. The debate was interesting both for what was said and for what was not said. The fact that St Kitts and Nevis joins many other countries which have passed this Bill into law, suggest that the Bill itself cannot be that bad for us. So why was there the delay? Was the Opposition opposing for opposing sake; despite the caution of Pastor Freeman at the Anniversary service? Or was the Opposition truly attempting to protect ordinary citizens but why? Why are they so concerned about the impact of a tax relationship between Americans and would-be-Americans and their government? So who exactly was the Parliamentary Opposition of St Kitts And Nevis attempting to protect and why do such persons and/or their accounts require protection? At the end of the debate, a poll was carried out. Of all the members present in Parliament, there were ten votes in favour of the Bill and none against. There were four abstentions. None of the four Opposition members who argued against the Bill voted against it, instead they abstained. Let the record show therefore, when it is examined, that none of those who verbally opposed, actually voted against the Bill. So were they really serious? Or were they just wasting time? What is the logic for arguing so vehemently against an idea and NOT voting at all? This is what converted the debate into a debacle. Pastor Freeman, at the Anniversary Church service in Nevis, reminded us about the three types of Citizens, those who were in front pulling the cart up the hill of progress, those who were behind pulling it back down the hill, and those who were sitting in the cart, doing nothing to help. He described those sitting in the cart as dead weight. Using that analogy, how would you categorise Parliamentary performance on Tuesday 14 th September? According to FDR, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.Did the country witness that fear ?
- 3 years ago
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