Time-Tabling by the Executive and Legislature in the Property Act

By Stephen Kangal
May 19, 2017

Stephen KangalA determination of the intention of the Executive and the Legislature as expressed in the time-tabling of the implementation of Act No 18 of 2009 is pivotal to the interpretation of the legislation as well as whether the Act has lapsed through non-implementation and non-observance of the dated law. It is also crucial in assessing whether the current bulldozing action being instituted by the Minister of Finance is legitimate and valid or tantamount to misbeviour in public office.

The view of the writer is that the Executive in 2009 deliberately and clearly worked towards a January 1, 2010 implementation/commencement date and the Legislature did the bidding of the Executive in incorporating the rigid dating provisions of the legislation.

The Executive through Prime Minister Patrick Manning and then Finance Minister Karen Tesheira did not conduct the requisite public consultations on such a draconian tax regime in their haste to begin the tax in 2010, even though there were widespread demonstrations/public meetings, the national Axe the Tax campaign and a march held around the Red House on the matter by unions while the Bill was being debated and passed in the House.

It was hurriedly passed through the House and Senate in December 2009 four days before and four after Xmas respectively when the public’s attention was engaged in the National Festival.

In fact Senators had to sit late at nights to complete the process. Many complained that such undue haste might result in bad law. The Act was deliberately proclaimed on 31st December 2009 to facilitate Manning’s ill-conceived haste to commence enforcement procedures on January 1, 2010.

So that when the Act provided for a January 1, 2010 implementation/enforcement date on three occasions, the repeal of the previous legislation and a April 1, 2010 date for submission of the return forms by owners that cannot be dismissed lightly as being of no strict legal import. That was the clear intention/fiat of the legislature and any changes or alterations in this schedule must be referred back to the legislature and not be mutilated or changed by any Minister of Finance or Cabinet.

Any court of competent jurisdiction must take into account this important consideration in arriving at a determination of the legal validity of the property tax regime in 2010 and whether it has lapsed through non-implementation and non-observance of the dates contained therein that were deliberately included based on the precise intentions of the Executive of the day.

One thought on “Time-Tabling by the Executive and Legislature in the Property Act”

  1. I felt it troubling and an affront to my basic human right, when I read in the Express, headlines which states “DONT FILE TAX FORMS”. This statement struck me as invasive coming from the courts OF THE LAND. Worse yet, is the accompanying picture of a smiling Anand Ramlogan with his team of lawyers, who fought for this decision before Justice Frank Seepersad in the San Fernando High Court. I am not sure whose interest is best served by this decision, but there appears to be strong intervention by the judiciary to hold the hands of the Executive branch of the Legislature to execute laws.

    I am not a lawyer, nor have I studied law in any given way but it appears to me that while the Justice might be within his bounds in law to say that the practice is unlawful, he is definitely outside of his realm to tell me that I should not voluntarily submit my tax forms , even if I wanted to. This appears to be an invasion of my fundamental right as a homeowner to seek information of how I should pay my taxes.

    There are basic human rights and there are laws to protect them that are constitutionally guaranteed to me as an individual. I am interested in knowing what my taxes should be in the new dispensation. Who gives Justice Seepersad the right to tell me that I am not entitled to know that if the government is willing to provide me with that information?.

    There is no telling that all these maneuvers are political in nature and we are experiencing the deep judicial divide that is taking place inside of the judicial arena and most of it appears to be aligning the decisions based on political ideology.

    I am not sure that Kamla Persad Bissessar feels aggrieved by the installation of the property tax for legal reasons but I am absolutely sure that she vis against it because she has publicly stated that she would make the country ungovernable and if she can’t there will be blood in the streets (or words to that effect). We know that she is not articulate enough to convince those who do not support her brand of politics to go against the laws. But we also know, based on previous rulings by especially the San Fernando High Courts, that she is capable of attaining consensus to make governing difficult for the current government.
    Why would Kamla not want me to submit my tax forms to be informed about my property taxes?. For this I need objective answers by her resident supporters on this blog.

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