Prime Minister Repudiates Suggestion to Tax Prostitutes


Prime Minister Bruce Golding has rejected the suggestion made by an officer of the Ministry of Health that the Government should tax prostitutes as a legitimate source of revenue, describing the proposal as ludicrous, ill-informed and unauthorized. Such a proposal, he said, has never been considered by the Government and will not be entertained.
The Prime Minister said that the Government, through the Ministry of Health, has been conducting a vigorous programme to reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), especially HIV-AIDS. This includes public education to encourage safe sex practices, access to protective devices such as condoms, regular testing for early detection and appropriate treatment.
He said that while the programme is aimed broadly at the sexually active population, special attention is given to those who, by virtue of engaging in commercial sex, are at severe risk. This programme, he said, will continue.
According to the Prime Minister, only last month, the World Bank approved an additional loan of US$10 million to support the programme and at the end of this month the Government will sign an agreement for a further grant of US$44 million from the Global Fund.
The Prime Minister said that the Government has no intention of legitimizing prostitution or targeting it for revenue purposes.
At the same time, the Prime Minister has directed the Cabinet Secretary to remind public officers of the provisions of Section 4.4 of the Staff Orders for the Public Service governing public statements on policy issues. Mr. Golding said that while he has no desire to muzzle public officers who are called upon from time to time to articulate and clarify Government policy, such a duty does not permit them to embark on their own intellectual frolic which leads to erroneous and confusing interpretation of the policy and direction of the Government.

JIS Social