After a year in which citizens of Trinidad and Tobago have been battered by floods, record high murders, increased unemployment, soaring food prices caused by the combination of fluctuating world commodity prices due to the Ukraine/Russia conflict and the exorbitant local fuel prices due to Government’s removal of subsidy coverage, citizens are desperately hoping that 2023 would see some relief says MP for Oropouche West, Davendranath Tancoo.
Instead, the Minister of Finance Colm Imbert has stated that the Property Tax will be introduced in this fiscal year. His government has already committed to increased electricity bills of up to 65 percent higher for residential properties and over 100 percent higher for commercial usage, with more regular billing cycles, from bi-monthly to monthly. There is also the stated intention to increase WASA rates to citizens who don’t even get a regular water supply. Government policy has also signalled impending job losses at WASA and the Port of Port of Spain after restructuring exercises are complete.
It is in this grim scenario that Imbert’s statement that 2023 will be a “much better year” is only missing his evil grin and trademark snicker which characterized his previous actions against citizens.
According to MP Tancoo, this PNM government’s dogged refusal to implement the original Procurement legislation has facilitated the expenditure of billions without proper regulatory oversight by the very entity designed to prevent corruption. This PNM government has failed to introduce pepper spray promised years ago to afford some level of protection against crime. Imbert has boasted of a billion dollar surplus, while the state continues to owe billions in VAT refunds, holding taxpaying businesses to ransom. And there are many more examples where it seems that it is only when the actions are punitive against citizens that Imbert and his Government are anxious to pursue.
Tancoo stated “Like all citizens, I hope too for a better 2023 for all citizens, not just the PNM friends, financiers and family. Until then, Imbert’s message of things getting better will remain another cruel joke against a suffering population by a callous and uncaring Minister of Finance and his Government.”