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Eustace: We are not entitled to taxes from Taiwan

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Former Prime Minister and Minister of Finance in the former New Democratic Party (NDP) administration Arhnim Eustace has said emphatically that Taiwan does not owe this country taxes for fishing registry. {{more}}

His response comes as leader of the Green Party, Ivan O’Neal staged a one-man protest outside the Court House on Friday June 31. Speaking with the SEARCHLIGHT, Eustace said that Taiwan pays registration fees to carry the Vincentian flag, which payment is collected by the Customs Department.

“We are not entitled to taxes from Taiwan. We have a couple thousand ships that pay to carry our flag all over the world,” he said. “We have one of the biggest flag registries in the world, but Bahamas has a bigger one.

“Our fees collected depend on the size of the ship and some $5-million has been collected from vessels all over the world that have been registered under our flag.”

Eustace, who is also Opposition Leader and president of the NDP, said all the fees are collected and handled by the Customs, on behalf of the Ministry of Finance.

On the other hand, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, who also holds responsibility for finance, has described the issue raised by O’Neal that $2 billion worth in taxes was owed by Taiwan as, “nonsense, utter rubbish and not worthy of being responded to.”

O’Neal, the Green Party leader, had accused three former ministers of finance from 1987-2004, Sir James Mitchell, Arnhim Eustace and Dr. Ralph Gonsalves of failing to collect taxes from Taiwan.