Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has questioned the purchases of luxury cars by two government Ministers while citizens are suffering as a result of the lockdowns from the pandemic.
Speaking during the United National Congress’ Monday Night Forum, Moonilal said “Imagine two ministers, buying luxury cars at a time like this, a pandemic where people don’t have food to eat and they are being exempted, in excess, they are being exempted in excess of one million dollars. While a ministerial colleague says the people who are lining up for hampers, she says they are not needy, they are greedy, this brothers and sisters is greediness.”
Moonilal’s statement follows public debate over the last few days, after documents from the Board of Inland Revenue were leaked showing purchases of luxury vehicles in the last four months by Ministers Terrence Deyalsingh and Stuart Young.
On March 15, 2021, approval was given by the division to grant exemptions to Energy Minister Young in the sum of $556,571.06 for the purchase of a Mercedes Benz GLE 450.
The document stated the car’s market price as $1,039,460.41 with VAT as $129.932.55, motor vehicle tax as $134,955 and customs duty as $291,683.51.
A few months later, on June 7, 2021, approval was then granted by the division to exempt Health Minister Deyalsingh from paying $390,166.63 in VAT, motor vehicle tax and customs duty on the purchase of a Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. The vehicle’s value was stated as $703,437 on the document with VAT amounting to $87,929.63, motor vehicle tax as $121,050 and customs duty as $181,187.
Moonilal said, “Could you believe that one minister, quite recently, in 2021, in March, brought in a Mercedes Benz with an exemption, Minister Young has an exemption of $550,000? This is following on the foot heels of another luxury vehicle purchased by the Minister of Health with another exemption of $700,000.”
He added “That million dollars in exemptions could buy five SUV vehicles for the TTPS, the Police Service, you can buy five vehicles for the Police Service if you give up the exemptions for VAT, taxes and customs duties. But that is where we are when they accuse ordinary people of being greedy, I imagine Mercedes Benz and Toyota Land Cruisers, that is not being greedy, that is needy.”
Moonilal is calling on the Prime Minister to place a moratorium on the purchase of luxury vehicles at this time.