Property Tax Bills Need Constitutional Majority

By Stephen Kangal
December 13, 2009

HouseI am now convinced that the two draconian property tax bills No 23 and 24 of 2009 must receive the requisite constitutional majority before they can be legitimately passed in the House of Representatives on Friday 18 December without public input. These bills are clearly being introduced in clear defiance of the wishes of the majority of people of T&T. They also are geared to demonstrate sadistically who is the ultimate boss here in the face of rising and widespread dissent.

These bills when enacted into law will infringe the following fundamental human rights and principles of law:

  • the legal principle of equity, fairness and justice which must not be confused with or substituted by the concept of equality. Equity demands taking into account prevailing equitable criteria and relevant circumstances including the socio-economic ecology/wide disparities in living conditions in T&T in order not to cause undue hardships and/or injustice or an unreasonable decline in living standards/incomes of 200,000 fixed income pensioners;
  • the tenets of natural justice and the right to be heard especially when a relatively large part (3000% tax increases) of one’s income/property (total estimated at $7bn) will be suddenly and quite unexpectedly taken away by a public authority for unclear revenue purposes that do not guarantee one any improvement or consideration for one’s loss or the opportunity to say why one should not be so disadvantaged or dispossessed by a publicly acknowledged. wasteful, non-accountable and discredited regime;
  • the constitutional right not to be deprived of property except by the requisite due process of law-making that must take into account the above-mentioned fundamental concepts to add constitutional legitimacy to the statutes concerned and not to be vulnerable to be successfully challenged and declared inconsistent with the Constitution and accordingly null and void by judicial review procedures;
  • the fundamental constitutional right to privacy/security of the home/property details/person and not to have these rights infringed or likely to be abrogated except by the passing of legislation that receive not only the stipulated constitutional majority in Parliament but also identify within the Bills concerned the rights enshrined in the relevant Sections of the 1976 Constitution that will be violated and/or infringed;
  • due adherence to the concept of reasonable expectations that property- owners were made to harbour having regard to the deliberate negligence of the state in not introducing progressive property-tax legislation when advised to do so in 1969, 1978 and 1997, a range of financial incentives offered by the state to encourage increasing home-ownership across the nation and the prevailing socio-economic conditions/ recent fiscal measures that should have pre-empted any reasonable Government from imposing additional fiscal burdens and occasioning undue anguish, stress and trauma on an already pauperized/targeted middle and low income class of its citizens.

The defence rests.

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13 thoughts on “Property Tax Bills Need Constitutional Majority”

  1. It is without a shadow of a doubt that those taxes being sought to be imposed on the nation by the PNM regime is being done with total disregard and wilful negligence. It does not require a recket scientist to know the motive for this brazen move. Manning and his cohorts have come to realize, that the people of Trinidad and Tobago are not as stupid as he so proudly believed. The selling point for his “money wasting” efforts in holding the two”wasteful and assonine” world events, was that “it will bring great rewards in the future” was not bought and adopted by the people whom was forced to pay for them. He is now sleepless brainstorming on how to explain his actions come next elections. Karen Tesciera, I am sure probably has increased her security at her home because of the “monster” she and the PNM have created. they are hoping this Tax/Money grab in the name of property taxes will replace the massive explosion of spending they will have to account for.

    However, the people of the nation must in some ways have to hold themselves accountable for giving him the key’s to the vault. They could not get over their “Afro/Indo” rhetoric and think what was best for the country and not what was best for PNM loyalists’. Prime Minister manning has shown that he is the boss and don’t like it, could drink salt water and eat bamboo; he don’t give a damn.

    Instead of wasting time on trying to make poor people poorer, he should focus his efforts on the “mega corruption” he and his regmie has pulled on a people dying for leadership.

    Should this bill pass, poverty will be at the helm of this ship excluding those with a PNM membership card. It doesn’t bother me one bit which Doctor, Journalist or Ambassador might take offence to my opinion, Abbreviatins before a name does nothing for the people of the nation! Manning went with everything he had in holding those two wsteful world meetings in the hope of gathering support from the head of the super powers of the world; in the hopes of gaining their endorsement! That and God’s face he will never see. Manning is no where in their class as world leaders and never will be. All he is, is a con man using whatever methods he wants to run his agenda, whether it’s in the people’s interest or not. He is the first leader of a nation, at least the “free world” who supports corruption, fraud, extortion and what else have you, without fear of prosecution.

    Without a shadow of a doubt, I see the return of an Abu Bakr action looming and ominous. Hopefully, if that ever does happen the whole of the PNM regime will be in parliament on that day!

  2. This is why I for one would like to see a moratorium on lawyer politicians in my country. They are so skillful with words yet afraid to really say what they mean ,and mean what they say.
    I just wish someone can tell me firstly ,what gauge/ yardstick was used to ascertain “the wishes of the majority of people of T&T,” when it comes to this Bill. Secondly,are the desires of thousand of landless included as well?

  3. Neal the first stage in conducting scientific analysis is the concept of observation. I have every newspaper clipping written of the PT, attended most public meetings, read blogs, conducted a poll in the pre-Divali period, used an expanding horizons approach to gauge public opinion from Caroni to POS to San Fernando, collected more than 50,000 sugnatures on a petition form and have not met anyone in these wanderings that is for the PT. That is why 80% of the people are against the Manning Administration having regard to a litany areas of dissatisfaction. Perhaps the CNC3 should conduct a News at Seven TV poll that will confirm my conclusion that the majority of the citizenry is against this fiscal obscenity. A word to the wise…The landless will be affected by their escalating rentals of land/housing and the passing down to the consumers of the commercial, agricultural and industrial PT increases that will run through the economy like a dose of salts.

  4. I agree with Kangal. The business owners will simply increase their product’s prices to compensate for what is lost in paying taxes. They will continue to make profits, expand(in both their private lives and in business) and then increase prices again, to correspond with their increased property rental values. The full weight of the property tax is going to bear down on the shoulders of the lower and middle income households.

    I predict that there will be follow-up legislation. As the government has done before, they will blame business owners for the increased prices. Peter Taylor will have a chance to show us, once again, that he is just as brilliant as any PNM-OJT. There will be public outcry and the government will resort to bringing legislation to control the profit margin of all businesses.

    Let me give you an example: Thou shalt not make more than X% in profits on any item that is…………..
    So let it be written so let it be done! The prime minister has spoken.

    So you think it sounds outrageous? Like when patrick can write a constitution and THEN come to ask our opinion, outlining the factors that HE thinks we should consider? Like when we were concerned about government spending and karen “skin and grin” and say we have plenty money? Like when she come back, skin and grin again, and say we borrowing plenty money? Like when a country in recession somehow manages to spare a few million to extend a certain palace(not calling any names)? Like when a minister could declare in the parliament that they have the simple majority and will pass legislation, with or without the opposition, before the debate is completed?

    Anyway, if such a measure is taken, it will fail to reduce prices and it will be back to the PNM drawing board, the same one that is always devoid of bright ideas. I have noticed that many recently passed laws involve money going into the treasury: tobacco bill, traffic violations, Breathalyzer and property tax. The opposition kept trying to convince the government that the penalties are too harsh on every occasion but have any of them considered that the penalties are what these bills are all about?

  5. I am with you Mr. K , and stands corrected. Keep up the fight. Please bear in mind , that there are many that are willing and ready to join the cause for meaningful change, in efforts to reclaiming our country from political crooks and bandits ,that have continually run roughshod over our country for too long.
    Warm Regards.

  6. You are welcome Mr.K.It should be evident that with few exception we all love this gem of a country Trinidad and Tobago. We do at times allow our emotions to get the better of us ,and so our blogging discourses tend to occasionally degenerate somewhat to less palatable standards.The first and most important lesson I learnt from an ancient A’ Level Pol Sic Professor , was that “politics is all about compromise.”
    I must admit however that the likes of the atheist for example, can at times push me to the brink ,when he shows his true colors with this shortsighted commentary.
    What else can you call it when he seeks to imply that the present regime has resorted to political posturing when it made efforts aimed at tightening up our traffic laws via an overdue breathalyze legislation, or introduction of a Tobacco Bill that can have some miniscule though positive impact on health levels when smoking is curbed ?
    Back in the day ,when we had the benefits of short pants ,disrespected police , many would be risking their lives as they traverse the highways and tried to ensure that drivers operate their vehicles within the speed limits using an outdated 14th century speed trap system.
    To my horror , in 2009 I was duly informed that radar guns are still not in use , or under utilized, as bodies are flying through windows daily due to unnecessary speeding related accidents.
    During that same era I referred to , a driver would flip the bird at cops and wave some 50 traffic tickets in their faces,and sometimes beckon his lawyers to intervene, or pray that dedicated officers miss a court date due to a belly ache or some pressing emergency, and a sympathetic magistrate throw out the case.
    Now if one cannot change the culture of a people that lack any semblance of order ,and respect for the laws of their country , but would hop on a plane and be perhaps the most law abiding in other distant quarters of Boston, Adelaide ,Amsterdam , Ottawa, and Bonn , then where are we heading, and how can we tackle bigger problems?
    What the hell do I care if our PM wants to put ten more rooms to the official resident, as long as he cannot take it with him once he leaves office? In the best interest of true democracy , or collective energies would be best spent in attempting to ensure that the PNM,UNC , COP or any other political party recognize that the power lies with the people , willing and capable of collectively making their voices heard outside of carnival Monday and Tuesday, so that politician stay in power are temporary.

  7. Shortsighted you say, yet you use the word “overdue”. Are you telling me that you really believe that someone woke up one morning, pulled apart some expensive drapes and suddenly realized that we have problems and that tax is too low? Why are the crimes that, we(but not you) think, need urgent attention are not being addressed? My shortsighted thinking makes me feel that it is because putting criminals in prison is not profitable but it is actually a cost to the colony.

    I hate this country, neal. I loved the culture that I experienced so long ago, when you didn’t have to believe in something that does not exist, to feel hope and national pride. Remember when you didn’t expect much from leaders because no one ever really had much to offer. It was so much easier when everyone was poor, when we were equal.

    I hate this country but I support your proposition to give power to the people. We know that the people already have this power but it is the racial and political divisions that will forever keep the pople far away from exploiting their power. Only a government that supports referendum and recall can save us from our selves. I am aware of no such political party. No one is born a pessimist, neal, and everyone wants to smile…………… involuntarily.

  8. That why religion is a drug that is sometimes worth taking atheist.Somewhere around the early to middle 20th century, noted theologian Reinhold Niebuhr once said , “Lord grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” It is not too bad an attitude to accept atheist.
    You and I can talk until the cows come home as racism , ethnic pride ,and tribal divisions has always been , and would forever remain a feature of life in our lovely Twin Island atheist.In Africa where some of our ancestors came from women , children ,and powerless ethnic minorities from Nigeria, Sudan, Rwanda, Liberia, and Serra Leone ,rights have been trampled upon daily , and few on the continent cares.
    In Asia led by budding industrial and nuclear China , Pakistan ,and India , human life is of no importance unless of course you are from the correct social class, or ethnic background. Don’t even talk about the Jewish and Arabic and Latino groups across the globe as the situations for the poor , powerless, and inconsequential tribes amongst them are so precarious to put it mildly, that it is no longer funny.
    As for the so called civilize white Europe , Russia ,and Norte Americana cousins? Well, you and I know better, as they produced WMD and drop two on Japan, they had two tribal world wars , and was directly or indirectly involved in every other one that took place across the globe since 1945. They produced barbarians such as Hitler,Stalin , Mussolini, and Franco, and via capitalism sells guns and other dangerous small arms to barbaric leaders where ever they can find them , introduce colonialism , and it’s modern spinoff of skewed globalization which essentially ensures that the poor remains poorer- yet still dare to refer to others of different complexions as savages.
    Unfortunately, we in sweet T&T have to deal will all this callaloo confusion as representative groups from all such peoples are present here in the land of the hummingbird , and daily grapple for piece of the economic pie.
    Just continue my friend to love country ,and do your part to make it a better place as best you can.
    How old as a nation ,are we again? 47 years I believe. We therefore still have a long way to go , and should be proud of all our accomplishments thus far.
    I might be mistaken but we possess a free press, holds free election, have an excellent justice system-especially if wealthy. A bit of poverty and neglect exist yes ,but we are headquarters to our own unusable Caribbean appeal court, recently hosted two major global conferences , and simply cannot stop immigrants from across the globe from breaking down our doors to becoming citizens of our concept of paradise, even as a few misguided ,self loathing ,privileged, disgruntled nationals run for the borders.
    What more can you ask for atheist, hmmmm? It’s called Democracy.

  9. the property tax is well overdue
    this will release some dilapidated property for renovation or sale
    and for the greedy property owners who have sponged on trinidad and tobago tax free
    we know
    land is power
    some sectors in T&T has suffered unfair oppression
    from the ‘money people’ power
    now the PT gives them something to spend their money on
    instead of financing in some instance
    say what u like!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Some people who have left TNT didn’t know that they have land. I know a felloe who just found out that he has about 50 acres or more in TNT. His family has been gone or uninformed for 60 years.
      I can only imagine what he will do. There needs to be some sort of advertisement or something sent to the major news outlets abroad where the majority of trini’s live informing them that their land will be seized if they don’t follow certain amounts of steps to claim it. Once all of the land is accounted for then we should move forward with tax adjustments to pay for roads, street lights, and anything else that the people need the government to provide.

  10. Ahhh yes. What should I say to nam jayi? Should I demonstrate how flawed his logic is or simply rain down insults? Perhaps this person is a student of the editor of the guardian. Only a person who completely ignores all the valid arguements on this subject could be so very far off the issue.

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