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Rowley Erratic on Property Tax Provisions
Posted: Sunday, May 14, 2017

By Stephen Kangal
May 14, 2017

Since the current discussions began on the yet to be known illegal implementation date of Act No 18 of 2009 Prime Minister Rowley has never uttered anything sensible and correct on this issue. He has never read the two mutually inclusive Acts No 17 and 18. He is at loggerheads with the Minister of Finance and his AG.

They have to do constant damage control to cover up his indiscretions and puerile misrepresentations of the provisions of the new property tax regime of 2010.

The Prime Minister must remind himself that he is not speaking to a Mason Hall audience only and that he would be assessed as a Prime Minister by the people of T&T and the Caribbean.

He used political fiction to justify the illegal imposition of an Act that to my mind has lapsed because both the letter and the law (Act No 18 and the Amended Valuation of Land Act) were so configured and drafted by Parliament with quite a specific 1 January 2010 implementation date.

That was the clear intention of Parliament and the legally provided implementation and commencement dates as written in the Acts have clearly lapsed and the Minister of Finance cannot play Parliament and change the laws unilaterally and according to his whims and fancies.

In the Newsday's article published on 4 May PM Rowley is guilty of the following errors:

- The now repealed Land and Building Tax Act was a 1948 Ordinance and not a 2011 Ordinance as the Prime Minister said.

- The L&B taxes for ownership of house and land applied in rural T&T was so nominal that no one ever lost their property by forfeitures of the State for the non-payment of the taxes.

- Has Rowley forgotten that the urban Boroughs and Cities also collected House rates under Chapter V the 1990 MCA Act and will no longer do so because all property tax revenues will be collected/credited by the Board of Inland Revenue into the Consolidated Fund.

- The new property tax regime (Acts No 17 and 18 of 2009) are expected to be so draconian and unprecedented quantitatively speaking in the annals of property tax collection and determination that Rowley himself opposed the legislation in 2009. because Manning was the The Prime Minister and not he.

- It was the PNM Government led by Manning in 2010 that refused to obey and implement the law of the land (his own law passed hurriedly without consultations and representation from the people) that was scheduled to come into force and effect in 1 January 2010 with consequential crucial tax implementation dates of March, 1 April and September 15, 2010.

- Why did the PNM refuse to implement the Law of the Land as it was then in January 2010?

- The PNM broke the law of the land and also repealed the L&B Ordinance as well as the Ch.V of the 1990 MCA. That is the lawless fringe posing as a Government to tax! Tax! Tax.

- The violator of the law of the land is the PNM not the PP.

- Why does the Minister of Finance not go after the new post-2010 built Commercial and Industrial properties as well as the 200,000 properties (Commercial, Industrial, Agricultural, Residential etc) that are not on the Tax Rolls of the Warden's Offices and City Halls and bring about equality and equity? Is he and the Prime Minister in the clutches of the parasitic oligarchy and the business elite who funded their 2015 Election Bill and now cannot act against the political investors but have to victimise the little man and his and his castle that he calls a house?

- Why target the loyal and law-abiding 200,000 traditional rate-payers and leave the landed and commercial/industrial oligarchies untouched and exempt from the Property Tax? Where is the equity and fairness?

- Act No.18 of 2010 is clearly inconsistent with Sections 5 and 6 relating to property ownership and enjoyment/ right to privacy of the Constitution and was passed with a simple majority instead of a requisite three-fifths

- This Act that imposes a draconian and astronomical tax on the people without holding the mandatory requisite consultations and representations with the tax-paying community.

- It is not reasonably justifiable in T&T as a democratic society because it does not and cannot pass the proportionality test.

- Failure by the Manning Administration to implement his own law and to repeal the two-existing tax laws of 1948 and 1990 is the main reason why no one paid property taxes from January 2010 to the present. While the 2010 Act was proclaimed on 31 st December 2009 it never commenced, entered into force and was never implemented by initiating the legally prescribed measures that would enable entry into force criteria to be met.

- The UNC had a clear 2010 election position on the property tax: that it was opposed to the measure. pre- and post 2010 and was clearly justified in adopting its opposition to the implementation to Act No 18 of 2009. whilst in Governance because it said so unequivocally on the 2010 elections platforms.

- Even if The PP passed an amnesty effective 2010 to 2015, that was a legal nullity because the Act No 18 of 2010 was not in force, had not commenced or was never implemented as it is being done now quite illegally to bring financial harm to a besieged population reeling under adverse impact of the recession.

- Additionally previous laws were prematurely repealed by Act No 18 of 2010 and the succession/replacement act never implemented because of alleged legal and other irregularities pointed out to Manning by Senior Counsels of repute.

- To bring the collection of the PT Act into force and effect certain things had to be done that is to say activation of Schedule II of the Valuation of Land Act Amended, the determination of an up-to-date Roll and the Issue of the Requisite March 2010 Tax Assessment Notices by the BIR — none of which was done even up to today since the recent Return Form is illegal, null and void and must be thrown into the garbage.

- Taxation without representation has been opposed since the Boston Tea Party and is a flagrant violation of the democratic ideal.

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