Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has defended the purchase of tax free luxury vehicles by himself and members of his cabinet.
In response to a question during yesterday’s press conference, Rowley said this was in keeping with their job entitlements and questioned why certain other members of parliament now pretended to have a problem with this and used the media to make it an issue.
The PM added, “I could tell the country now that I bought a vehicle because I drive myself and as part of the terms of engagement for a job I do 24 hours a day, I accept the terms of engagement.
“And if it displeases some people, I am sorry. But I don’t think it is fair for somebody to tell me what to do with what I earned, when you have no interest in talking to those who have stolen public money and you have no interest in that.”
Rowley said that the people who are pursuing this matter for political benefit have questions to answer and he recalled certain practices by the previous government.
In fact, the PM said, “Last year October, this matter came up and it was the subject of an editorial. It came up driven largely by members of the Opposition and I did say at the time, that if the abuse that we had seen then is what is taking place, I would ask the Cabinet to consider whether there should be some capping on the exemption.”
Rowley said that he did look at capping the exemptions last year and sought legal advice.
“The legal advice was that these were people’s terms of engagement and you have no authority to interfere with it,” he said.
He said that there were different levels of tax exemptions and while some public servants were entitled to one, others received two and three breaks “depending on your terms of engagement.”