Transforming a Property Owning Nation into Renters

Trinidad and Tobago News Blog

HouseTHE EDITOR: The onerous, burdensome, sting-in-the-tail and exploitative property tax imposed by the Minister of Finance in her barrel-scraping Budget Statement will have the effect of transforming the mentality of a proud and confident, property- owning, diverse population into a nation of transient renters. From childhood I was socialized culturally into not being a renter. Now I am being forced as a fixed income pensioner, after building and living in my own home, to regard and treat myself pschologically as a renter in my own home. A long term renter has no commitment to his community or country. He is always on the move in search of greener pastures. I do not want to be treated as that.

I have to pay 3% of my annual rent to the soon to be defunct BIR, as determined by the Valuation Division (1000% increase in house tax) into the coffers of a wild, deficit spending, irresponsible Government. I will not now be able to maintain my home. The valuable housing stock of T&T especially of the 200,00 pensioners will go into decline. The housing stock, inter alia, supports the value of TT dollar from depreciating.

They have now invaded even our bedrooms as bandits in search of our dwindling incomes after the CLICO debacle/financial meltdown has pauperized us. The people must be left with their own money to drive and fuel demand to take us out of the recession. The Government cannot spend for us given their political preference.

Minister Enill attempted to justify this draconian, vindictive tax by suggesting that current property owners paid 1948 determined taxes. He also said that his regime wanted to establish equity between rate payers of San Fernando and Arima and the rest of rural T&T. Minister Tesheira indicated that the property tax was in keeping with international standards without admitting that T&T is tottering way below acceptable international standards in human living indices. Where in the world do consumers in each household have to install and maintain expensive tanks, pumps and filters for water?

There is at present no equity between the level and sophistication of the infrastructure, services, public utilities and facilities lavished on and enjoyed by the people of San Fernando/Arima compared with the rest of rural Trinidad. They have first call on stadia, hospitals, concert halls, adequate water and electricity, shopping centres, CEPEP/URP gangs, markets garbage collection, social services and ample employment. These burgesses do not have to face daily rural to urban stress inducing, traffic snarls, dengue infestation and flooding.

How therefore can this further poverty-inducing property tax bring about any equity in the wide disparity in living conditions between rural T&T and the jurisdictions of borough/city corporations to justify the imposition of this dangerous taxation without any consultation with the stakeholders’ NGO’s such as the Land Tenants and Rate Payers’ Association?

The cash-hungry, desperate Manning Administration has now invaded our castles. They must be stopped before they initiate a love-making or child-bearing tax. Taxation is endemic in the DNA of the PNM.

Stephen Kangal

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13 thoughts on “Transforming a Property Owning Nation into Renters”

  1. Quite right. Explaining the property tax grab as international practice, is to say that 2020 is already here, and that Trinidad (and tobago) is now a developed nation. Such delusions of adequacy by that small island has been inborn. There being no neutral gear in the affairs of a nation or people, this development, and Tscheira’s (a betta pull me money out) fatuous explication of same, is, sadly, only the beginning—not the end—of a creeping “Zimbabwe Syndrome”. Put in context,Swine flu is no problem. You’ll see.

  2. Property tax plan unfair
    This is not about reform or equity. It is simply additional taxation in deficit budgeting brought on by squandermania in a time of plenty. If you fail to pay, Government will simply seize your property.

    Gypsy: It’s now a crime to own a house
    Homeowners are being punished by the Government for achieving their goal of home ownership by having to pay the increased property taxes, says Opposition MP Winston “Gypsy” Peters.

  3. Another borrowed idea which is really not applicable in T&T. Property taxes are accompanied by services to home like running water, electricty, sewers,phone lines, cable lines ,dependable garbage collection,flood protection, road maintenance,recreation,sports facilities, sidewalks,bridges,street lights, etc
    Failure to provide eligble services very often result in lawsuits and witholding of property taxes in most countries.Until the government is able to provide these services, no changes should be made to the existing system, unless T&T is now in a position to offer proper services to its citizens.
    We must also remember that the tax rates, corporate,personal and value added tax are already higher than most countries.
    T&T is not ready for property taxes.It will be a terrible strain on most citizens , especially the seniors.

  4. Another bad idea that shows no consideration for citizens by the government. Do we really deserve this? And at this time? This is to provide extra cash for them to throw away. This is throwing good money after bad and pauperising the nation to get it. Think about this TnT. What recourse do you have?


  5. I am a returning resident and I agree with the previos respondents to the fact that the government has no right to raise taxes (or establish new ones)until they can take care of the basic needs of the society it is supposed to represent.
    The course they are taking is unsustainable, a word that has been recently used to describe the fiscal policies of so called “first world” nations. The inevitable result is playing out for them now, shouldn’t we look at this example and change now, while we still can?

  6. We want the squatters on Evans St close to the UWI to pay PROP Taxes also, they seem to stay there expanding and destroying the eco system, whilest the TUNAPUNA REGIONAL CORORP DOES NOTHING ABOUT THEM, THEY CAUSE A LOT OF TRAFFIC ON EVANS ST, AND NO ONE SAYS A THING, PLEASE TAX THEM EQUALLY OR EVICT THEM AT ONCE.

  7. Do we really deserve this I am a returning resident.Think about this TnT. What recourse do you have? the government tink they can do what they want this is not fear

  8. It seems to me that the government wants to profit from the Trinibagonians living abroad. If they don’t pay their taxes on family land and homes, then there is the potential for massive property redistribution. There are families of people who have been trickling out of Trinidad and Tobago since The Mighty Sparrow sang about Jean and Dinah. If they came back now, the government might not profit as much. Meanwhile, vacant properties that could be mistaken for ruins litter the country. How does someone reclaim family land after 50 years or more of exodus? Why would they considering the state of the country as of now. Why leave Brooklyn to live in Brooklyn want to be? That is unless there has been a natural resource fond near or on the property which could be sold for competitive amounts of money. At any rate, I don’t trust the government. I need to see more transparency from them on the policy of property taxes.

  9. The Government of the day (PNM) maintains that the Citizens MUST pay the property tax or they will move in and seize whatever they see on one’s property and sell at will… The buildings in POS which they have built…. using Billions of OUR money. They hard part is that the buildings are not even complete, or fully occupied. Tower C next to the Hyatt Hotel has over 27 stories of which only 5 stories are occupied/furnished/functional. The next tower, only 2 stories are useable. The opera house in POS… who really give a S**t about it? We need water in our pipes. A simple de-salination plant is more needed than a place to visit and sing. Simple basics as running water, to bath, cook and clean is a must. I live in an area in Chaguanas where the roads are sinking, the drains are started every corner for 20 ft and do not connect. Imagine, I have to build my own BOX DRAiN in the Public Road otherwise my yard will wash away in the drain which by the way is a mud slide. I worked literally night and day for years just to build my house and now they want to come tax it??? They even know how I had to take credit from one hardware just to finish a room to live in? I have no problems in paying a “TAX” for facilities… working, functioning, operational ones. But give me a break…. The citizens should not have to pay for the squandermania government. Instead they should be made to pay by the citizens retroactively for the crap they continue to do and say its progress… Vision 20-20 my foot. We need facilities. Water, Roads, Security, Safety and the list goes on and on…. We don’t need big buildings to impress foreigners. We need some sanity to prevail. Unfortunately trinis are like crab in a basket. Climbing on each other to pull each other down… while the PNM will continue to bamboozle the not too smart majority and pull wool over their eyes… a free t-shirt and pick them and bring them to vote on elections day go keep them there. But guess what? The longest rope have an end. They will have to answer to a higher authority. Much higher.

    1. Unite, Organize and Fight!!! Everyone has something to loose……You just have to find out what it is…Trinidad should never have allowed the Real Estate companies to come in and buy and sell land. You should not be allowed to own property in Trinidad if you are not a citizen!!! there are alot of countries who allow you to live and pay RENT, but not own—-whay are we destroying each other???
      I am sure you are not alone, but we must stand together.
      ….If i refuse to pay the extra shilling for a gallon of gas, and choose to walk, ride my bike, or take the bus…and if everyone did the same….how long before the petrol station close down???
      Stop thinking you have no control!

  10. These folks are getting tiresome with the constant belleyaching of government this and that.while awaiting May25th political salvation,we should send out several SOS to China,Zimbabwe,venezuela,,and Guyana to find out how those democratic boy and gals handle there socio ecnomica their affairs.

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