|Volume No. 1 Issue No. 57 - Monday April 05, 2004|
|No Representation without Taxation |
Letters to the Editor
Iwould have liked to respond to the poll regarding the vote for overseas
Dominicans, but alas I was constrained in doing so since my response is a
conditional one. So let me take this opportunity to tell you what my
response would ideally be. "Taxation without representation" has in the
past been the cause of much protest throughout the Caribbean.
To my mind the converse - "representation without taxation" is not different in priciple! That is what a vote for overseas Dominicans would represent if it is not tied to any obligation or commitment of overseas Dominicans to their country.
I work in Barbados currently and I love my country dearly. I will
return to Dominica as soon as it is opportune for me so that I can
contribute to the country's development in a more direct way.
In the meanwhile I am quite willing to consider paying a tax or some sort of contribution as a citizen of Dominica. This is no strange phenomena.
Citizens of other countries such as the USA and Canada pay taxes no matter
where they reside. My view is that it is only with such an obligation or at least a commitment that a vote for overseas Dominicans can be justified.
Extending Dominica beyond its physical borders by embracing the
Diaspora is a strategy that can yield much benefit to all citizens,
residents, and future generations. Most persons who leave Dominica do so
in order to make a better life for themselves and their families and no one can be faulted for that.
While the contribution made to the country by overseas Dominicans through remittances is very important, it may be an opportune time to consider institutionalizing the relationship with overseas Dominicans through the formal contribution to government revenue. We all want to find improved infrastructure and conditions whenever we return home
to visit relatives and friends.
We never give up our love for our country. But we need to add more action to our love. Perhaps there has been another time in our history when Dominicans overseas could make a greater contribution to Dominica than now given the current economic difficulties that the country is facing.
There are many ways in which we can contribute and that can be surveyed more fully at another time. But certainly one way that would be very useful at the moment would be through a formal contribution to government recurrent revenue through a tax or through some related means.
Of course the administrative machinery and the framework would
require much work before it can be established, but relating such
contributions to a vote for overseas Dominicans should be strongly
Kent Vital- Barbados
There are two problems I see with Dominicans overseas being allowed to vote in Dominican elections. The one is that they don't pay taxes - unlike Americans who live overseas. The other is that they may not have lived in the country long enough to know the issues and the candidates adequately to make an informed decision. Further, what does such an individual have at stake if he votes "wrong"? Just some thoughts to add to the debate.