Many groups in every constituency, both in Trinidad, and in Tobago, have come out supporting opposition criticism of the manner in which property tax is being reintroduced.
Since the Ministry of Finance announced the May 22nd compliance deadline there has been vigorous debate in all media.
I condemn the deceitful statements made by the Prime Minister as it relates to the Opposition’s stance against the haphazard reintroduction of Property Tax. In a public meeting at the Diego Martin Community Centre the Prime Minister accused the Opposition Leader of having a personal interest in opposing property taxation. The Honorable Kamla Persad- Bissessar pointed out that with the escalating cost of living in the country this additional tax is a burden on citizens, which will damage small business owners and do nothing to stimulate investment or job growth. She also stated that the entire country benefited from the amnesty including the Prime Minister during her tenure as the former Prime Minister.
In Trinidad and Tobago our citizens are opinionated and passionate in their beliefs. However this tradition should be encouraged, not be abused by any citizen. During the meeting the Prime Minister continued his harangue attacking Opposition Senator Gerald Ramdeen. Senator Ramdeen inquired about the methods Minister Imbert would employ to acquire information to tax, specifically utility records. His point revolved around the fact that not all persons legally access utility services and that the impact of taxes can be inequitable and there would be geographic disparity.
The Prime Minister responded stating that Senator Ramdeen is a “Racial Dog Whistle trying to divide the population by race and geography on this issue”. The Prime Minister must retract this statement and apologize to Senator Ramdeen.
The Prime Minister’s language is emotive. His behavior is unacceptable and it further promotes the disrespectful demeanor displayed by government officials under the Rowley regime.
Recently the Minister of Education Anthony Garcia was quoted as saying he is a “woodman” and he could further attest to this because he is “a father of six children to prove it”. The Minister needs to understand that being a role model is a privilege and he should be mindful of his comments.
The government is not focused on the issues affecting Trinidad and Tobago. The murder toll is currently 172 and climbing. It is a guarantee that a citizen will have to wait hours to be attended to in the emergency section at any hospital in Trinidad and Tobago. Our national debt is 63% of GDP. I urge that government members refrain from empty talk, or mere picong and focus on the issues affecting our country.
Dated 4th May 2017