By Carlena Knight
As the United Progressive Party (UPP) launched their campaign on Thursday, many candidates outlined some of their plans for their constituency and country on a whole.
The biggest of those plans was however outlined by the leader of the party himself, Harold Lovell.
Lovell, who concluded the evening with his speech, pledged to strive to reduce food prices by lowering taxes, as prices of certain staple items are sky-high.
He said the party must find innovative ways to manoeuver through this “new normal” as the pandemic continues to impact supply chains which in turn inflates the cost of many goods.
“We say a UPP administration within the first 100 days, we are going to reduce all taxes on food stuff and we are going to completely remove those taxes that can be removed on selected items on food stuff.
“This way we can directly impact the cost of living and we will complete a total audit of our tax structure because we have to find ways in this new normal, this new reality, that we can bring benefits to our people. It cannot be the same as old, it cannot be the same old thing,” Lovell said.
When asked for more details on the plan, Lovell explained that the party would completely remove the duty on some items and reduce the tax on others.
“We feel that the government should not profit from these increased prices but rather the people benefit. The reduction in the taxes would be revenue neutral. The government in many cases would not suffer any loss of revenue. It will be the people who get the benefit however,” he added.
The UPP head, who is the candidate for St John’s City East, also promised to pay government workers who went unpaid for two months when the mandatory vaccination policy was in effect. And he pledged to pay and prioritise severance and entitlements to displaced LIAT workers and to employ those currently unemployed to create new pathways in aviation where their skills can be utilised.
In addition, he promised to re-engage the heads of the Caribbean to seriously discuss regional air transportation.
Meanwhile, residents of the All Saints East and Saint Luke constituency should soon be able to benefit from a previously controversial Morris Bay project headed by Opposition Leader and candidate Jamale Pringle.
A public bathroom being erected on the beach is set for completion within weeks. Attempts to construct the building last summer resulted in a spat with the Development Control Authority.
Pringle, who dubbed himself the “black panther of the south”, also revealed additional plans he has for his constituency.
“We have started the preparation to construct a steelpan house in the All Saints community to serve the whole constituency. You will also see in a short time, the rollout of the All Saints East and Saint Luke community soup kitchen to ensure that the elderly and less fortunate are able to receive a hot meal,” Pringle detailed.
The MP for the area also beseeched his constituents to allow him to retain his seat so that he may continue his work as part of the next government saying they have been neglected under the current administration.
The drive-in event which ended in fireworks and fanfare had an estimated 600 cars, according to preliminary reports from the UPP.
Previous numbers signalled an estimated 300 people during the early stages of the launch at the Potters playing field.