Home / View Point / Martin Daly / DALY BREAD: The poll tax; why PNM’s property tax could lead to electoral defeat again!

DALY BREAD: The poll tax; why PNM’s property tax could lead to electoral defeat again!

The current Government has fatally underestimated the resistance to the proposed property tax. If it does not make concessions on the methodology of its introduction and of its implementation, the property tax will become a poll tax when it leads to defeat at the polls.

Of course, much of the resistance is the natural resistance to paying increased or new taxes, particularly in what is undoubtedly a guava season. But there are a plethora of other potent and upsetting issues.

Paramount among these issues is the security and privacy concern, which are really two overlapping concerns.

Photo: Finders, keepers. (Courtesy Home Alone)
Photo: Finders, keepers.
(Courtesy Home Alone)

Very few citizens are going to let any stranger in the guise of a valuation inspector into their home to inspect their premises and to see the layout—even when a badge or other purported credentials are presented to the occupant of the home. We will cry like the Queen in Sparrow’s calypso, “There is a man in my bedroom.”

False credentials are a reality. With or without credentials, who knows what kind of background check has been done on the valuation inspectors and, most importantly, who knows with whom the strangers are associated or under whose influence they may fall?

This is also a society in which women are vulnerable to attack. Single women living alone ought not to be forced or exposed to having their status disclosed, which will be the inevitable result of a home visit. Moreover, public trust is at its lowest ebb since Independence and fear of human and organ trafficking is rife.

Any methodology of property assessment that requires entry into one’s home will be the first nail in the poll tax coffin. Field observations of where citizens live should be confined to roadside observations. This would sit well with the option of charging property tax in bands, which fix rates by reference to areas instead of individual properties, as I suggest below.

Equally hotly contested is the written information that should accompany the return of ownership declaration that the property owner is required to make. There are serious questions as to the source of the authority to require an owner to provide a floor plan and photograph of the premises and the consequent legality of those demands.

Photo: Property tax is coming...
Photo: Property tax is coming…

Whatever the legal authority to extract such information from homeowners, such documentation is to provide a road map for bandits—who are frequently untouchable or unapprehended—since it is idle to pretend that information supplied to Government departments necessarily remains confidential within the department.

I have not chosen the label “poll tax” merely to underline the grave electoral threat to the Government when next it faces the polls, if it proceeds to inflict monumental invasions of privacy upon us and to increase our already high sense of unease about our personal safety.

In the United Kingdom, the mighty Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was brought down by her proposal for a poll tax despite having hitherto being unbeatable electorally. The poll tax was a flat rate charge per capita tax on every adult.

I do not want this column to be inflammatory. Readers can follow the turbulent fate of the poll tax and the resignation of Thatcher by looking up the poll tax march of 31 March 1990.

When Thatcher resigned, John Major succeeded her. His Government abolished the poll tax and replaced it with a Council Tax in which each property was assigned to one of eight bands based on property value. The Council tax was intended to replace rates based on the estimated rental value of a home.

Photo: Former Britain Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Photo: Former Britain Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

For us, I would like consideration to be given to placing local government electoral areas—not individual properties—into bands subject to suitable tax relief for retirees, victims of redundancy and other cases worthy of relief. Residential and business properties would also be placed in different bands.

There is also a significant policy question. Property-based taxes are usually set by the local government area where the taxpayer lives and are intended to fund local government. It appears that the proceeds of our property tax will be part of the Central Government’s revenues.

The current Government should be careful how it embraces that ghost of the former prime minister and party leader, Mr Patrick Manning. Property tax was a significant factor in bringing Manning down in the 2010 General Election.  Remember the slogan “Axe the tax” and the crossed arms of Percy refusing entry into his home.

“Axe the tax” will be back with the force of a classic road march. Does this Government want to go there?

Within a few days of each other in May are the deadline for filing the intrusive information about one’s home and the grand opening of the ridiculously expensive Tarouba stadium.

This stadium is arguably the most unnecessary venture ever undertaken by any Government, even if it could double as “a tsunami shelter” as was laughably suggested. Do we want to go there?

Photo: President Anthony Carmona (right) swears in Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley. (Copyright Reuters)
Photo: President Anthony Carmona (right) swears in Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley.
(Copyright Reuters)

About Martin Daly

Martin Daly
Martin G Daly SC is a prominent attorney-at-law. He is a former Independent Senator and past president of the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago. He is chairman of the Pat Bishop Foundation and a steelpan music enthusiast.

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243 comments

  1. if Trinis were interested in corruption for the last 4 decades they would have demanded action, but we sit back and do nothing and politiicians know that. Two (2) years into the PNM government and many allegations of massive corruption and , the information went to the TTPS. To date not a word. Who has been held from the Oppositon side for alleged stealing, No one and what the citizens doing , talk, talk, talk. Only when TRINIS realize that we the citizens have the power (not onoy every 5 years at election time) this crap will continue

  2. I heard this comment today on foreign news and I laughed because I shared the same sentiment.Why when you disagree with a persons, you want them fired. For the last 20 years we have had 4 elections, with Musical chairs. What have successive governments accomplished?Massive Corruption. The government barely in power 2 years and everyone on the “gimme gimme” gang. We all know MONEY talks and currently there is none, No handouts to give away, so you all ready to vote PNM out and put back PP. As Maestro sang “Trinis don’t know what they want” I reiterate you elect governments to govern, not continue the dependency syndrome. Instead citizens job (which we have failed to do) is to demand accountability and transparency, Pressure those in authority not call for firing and resignation. That appears to be the new stuck record in this country. The question is what can you do for your country not what your country can do for you , the dependency syndrome is endemic till its suffocating. Everyone in T&T through social media is a critic or a bandwaggonist. Where are the problem solvers?Where are the solutions?

  3. This is not a new tax, It was in existence before, My daddy used to pay land and building taxes for years. Trinis just like freeness, I am aware there are loopholes and clarity is still needed on some issues. Trinis want better utilities, infrastructure etc, Where do people feel money comes from. I paid taxes and other people paid taxes which enabled me to attend UWI up to an MPhil, Similalry I want my grandchild to benefit from other peoples taxes. The problem is we allow politicians to rape the treasury and we remain quiet, Property tax is paid across the world, why Trinis think they are unique.? Afra Raymoond has been making the rounds on the media texplaing Property tax.Tomorrow he will be on i95.5 wth Mariano Brown. Spread the word and listen. we will all be better informed and will do the right thing.

  4. I wish some of the “intelligencia” can see your comments Malcolm. The names I’ve been called recently, but with the bacchanalists, they do their best and beat you down

  5. Nerisha in today’s post cabinet briefing Colm the Tax man said they haven’t made any decisions yet

  6. It’s not the taxes that people are against you know. It’s the thieving so why do we believe that this tax will be spent where it should be spent and why would anyone have faith at this juncture? At all!

  7. Malcolm, well said on all counts.

  8. IMHO, the inability of the PM to fire/replace friends (ministers) who are not getting their work done will guarantee him the post of Opposition Leader after the next election.

    • Earl Best

      …except that,barring the AG and the Minister in the PM’s Office, it’s not inability; it’s unwillingness. Didn’t he get rid of Nicole and Ancil?
      And Marlene, although his hand was forced in that last case?

  9. For example, why would the owner of agricultural lands who plants crops and has his produce stolen before he reaps it (with no protection from the preadial larceny squad of the TTPS) want to pay additional tax?

  10. I am in favor of the property tax, however, it should not be retroactive. The justifiable reason why people are resisting the tax is because generally, people are not getting value for the taxes they are currently paying. Therefore to add new taxes in face of no value being added would be met with resistance.

  11. its your home, pay your property tax.

  12. Mel Lissa,can anyone confirm if 2016 (annual year) is to be paid, or is it 2016-2017 financial year, to be paid by end of sept?

  13. Mr Daly has raised some interesting points; to which I add a question.
    People paid land and b building (in effect property) taxes before. How were valuations determined for all these years?

  14. I wonder how much money was wasted by Kamla by the large increases in Social Welfare benefits.

    I wonder how much wastage was incurred by Kamla having tremendous infrastructure works done throughout the lenght and breath of TT.

    I think all those UNC loyalists take heed that if Kamla ever wins elections again there will be huge wastage on services that people think a govt shoukd provide.

    The PNM has the correct idea of how to run a country. They ensure that their relatives and friends get their pockets filled and keep their ardent supporters deprived.

    UNC loyalists should take note when next they go to the polls.

  15. Why is the valuation department of Town and Country requesting copies of one’s property deed when there is a copy registered with land registry and registrar general dept. and cadastral or house plan which Town and Country supposed to have?
    Laziness to search as usual. Hire some OJTs and para- legals to do these tasks. Field valuators just need to verify documents registered with the various gov’t agencies. Those not accounted for request owner/ occupier to come in with legal documents. This may take awhile but Regional Corporations can assist.

  16. why does no-one answer my question? Allyou agree with Daly or not?

  17. So Daly is predicting doom for the government if it presses on with this tax. Allyou agree?

  18. The 2014 proposals were grander in scope.But then they discovered the NGC.

  19. https://www.facebook.com/marcusalexander.clarke/videos/1118475924925855/
    Could someone explain what’s the difference between what happening now and what was about in 2014. Wasn’t it not the same tax ?

  20. If the monies collected are given to certain corporations to alleviate infrastructural concerns within communities,you can bet your life that it will be whisked away to line pockets.We all know that .

  21. The problem with the property is that it is meant to serve the localities from where it came to improve roads, schools, etc. This property tax seems to be heading to the national government”s current account to be used by the party in power which means tax from Penal could benefit Diego Martin and not Penal. If the government makes it clear that the property tax will serve the localities from where it came, you wanna bet you get a different response. But that would mean reforming local government to give it more autonomy. That;s unlikely because the party which emaciated local government in the first place was the PNM under Eric Williams

  22. I teally dont understand what people want… the annual rental value has a linear correlation witj market value and is a reflection of such. We have a 17 billion dollar budget deficit and.tbis is simply one means of trying to fund it. All the empty talk of “new revenue streams” is just talk because that wont solve the problem in the short term. The government has resisted calls in some quarters to cut spending to 40-45 billion ..a situation far worse than PT. Most woild be paying about 200/month..less than ypur cable bill. is it perfect?’.no..so what?.’we will get it better with time …

  23. Whoever drew up this legislation is idiotic to an unbelievable degree. Gregory Subero caused me to look it up. They are compelling ordinary people to estimate the rental value of their house using vague guidelines, to wit, “Property Classifications – (Standard Home, Modern Home or Executive Home);
    Quality of construction and condition of the property;
    The location of the property and the market rental value of similar properties in the neighbourhood.” Half TT’s high school graduates can’t understand those words and phrases, much more for those who didn’t go high school. Then, it goes on to compel them to make judgements about real estate value, construction standards etc., and total up results. Then, if the poor suckers manage to come up with something, they have to work out a series of percentages – 10% then 3.5% of the result, then 3% of that. When Gregory sent me off on the wild goose chase I had to study my head during the calculations and I have higher degrees coming out of my nose. Ordinary people? This is callous, cruel and downright stupid.

    • 99% of what you wrote there is false…..read the form again

    • Here’s what the ministry website says. I’d be grateful if you’d show me how this contradicts what I said. “Valuers take several factors into account in calculating the rental value of the property. Some factors include:-

      Property Classifications – (Standard Home, Modern Home or Executive Home);
      Quality of construction and condition of the property;
      The location of the property and the market rental value of similar properties in the neighbourhood.

      CALCULATION OF ANNUAL TAXABLE VALUE (ATV) AND PROPERTY TAX

      The Annual Taxable Value is the annual rental value subject to the deductions and allowances which may be made by the Board of Inland Revenue. The Board may make deductions and allowances in respect of voids (periods when the property may not be rented) and loss of rent (where the landlord is unable to collect the rent) equivalent to ten per cent (10%) of the ARV.

      The Annual Property Tax is calculated at three percent of the Annual Taxable Value.

    • Niala Maharaj can you shed some light on section 14 (e) of the Property Tax Act.

      Does this give the minister the authority to deem a property exempt from tax without his going to parliament.
      Even just ad bad will the govt with a simple majority circumvent tje law by giving special exemption to their family and friends.

  24. Nicole Caesar there are a couple threads on property tax and you can drop your story in any one. We definitely want no new threads until there is some significant new news story.

  25. Not under estimated the resistance to the property tax but underestimated the intelligence of the population to fall for the propaganda of the UNC and a few other misguided souls. They want to make a monster out of a simple thing.

  26. The tax should be collected, and given to local corporations when new Act is pass

  27. Is all this ignorance coming from.

  28. We were paying property tax when NAR was around in the 80s. Today it is not as bad as then. What happen to Trinis.Where is a

  29. He alluded to bandits masquerading as valuators …
    In this criminal environment, he has a VALID point..

  30. the thing about property tax it reduces the avenues to hide income and that is why what is being attacked is the valuation exercises

  31. ” But in fact, the fundamental thing—and the whole thing has screeched to a grinding halt in the four years the Partnership has been in power—would have been that searchable database to allow the people running the property tax system to see if you and I, who might have buildings side by side that are the same square footage on the same street, are paying the same tax, and how the rent you’re declaring of, say, $3,000 a month, can be correct if next door is paying $8,000.

    You can see the use of the system. It would have allowed us to see if people are paying the correct income tax on the rent they receive, for example.” Afra Raymond nice quote

  32. Daly is wrong

    Not surprised

    • I would love to see him use that same logic while presenting a case in court. Why should logic apply there and not there’s no accountability when addressing a national issue?

    • wait for the next article

      govt seems not to be able to deal with tax evasion and loss of revenue needed to reinvigorate the economy

    • Yeop..that’s exactly how it goes.

    • Cause it is them, their friends, stalwarts, financiers, business top tiers and associates who evade

    • Martin Daly is not saying that a tax should not be applied or imposed. He’s talking about the process for rolling it out and the way it may be received if done as it is. What is he wrong about?

    • the idea that documentation shouldnt be recieved by the govt, when in fact wrt to planning permissions it should already have been in govt records

    • basically what we do is skirt regulations here and then legitimise it later on…paying all types of taxes in a country where revenue has dropped so badly should be fully supported

      what the article tries to do is legitimise all opposition even if they on shaky ground

      note the mention of the stadium

    • Well have you considered that there are other methods of tax assessment and collection. I pay property taxes every year. I have never had to provide any documents and no one ever came to my house. My home is assessed according to the market value of properties in my subdivision on a per square foot basis, and that calculation determines my taxes. if property values fall due to recession etc., my taxes move accordingly. I have confidence that everyone is assessed accordingly and I pay willingly – even when its tough. It is also implemented fairly. I can go the county office and see a list of homes which have been seized for non-payment of taxes. Transparent. This is just another method. Is this a viable option Kyon Esdelle? Simply saying that there are options

    • TT is unlike many countries where here rich people live next door to poor ppl

      both cannot pay the same PT

    • Kyon Esdelle where in TT? Things must have changed since I left 3 weeks ago

    • furthermore people were getting robbed before their house plans were at the govt so giving the house plans to the govt aint making life more dangerous

    • Not true Kyon, you not travelled much?

  33. In referencing (and sort of suggesting) the UK’s Council Tax, I suspect Mr Daly did not examine the evaluation and revaluation methods and forms with regards to privacy concerns. So instead of debating the nonsensical point of confining property inspections to ‘roadside observations’ – because I suspect he did not have time to further recommend we use drones for properties enclosed by high walls- I would suggest people examine the Council Tax and how it is administered
    In fact, look at how property taxes are administered across the world so we could have a privacy debate not based on fear mongering.
    TSTT, other cable companies and health inspectors have periodically gained access to private properties in Trinidad and Tobago, including those of single women. There’s nothing alien here. Mr Daly is capable of making a more constructive argument on this issue.

    • That wasn’t the only argument Richard Zen O’Brien. He also spoke of issue with valuation. But, more to the point, of a distrust of government and the handling of the public purse.
      And I think the last one is the most pertinent.

    • So we have a deficit, there’s a need to raise revenue but distrust of government overrides that need? Is he proposing anarchy or some other form of governance?

    • Forget Daly. I am advocating self government of collective citizen finances. Previous not working
      Citizen Governances according to regional councils

    • Lasana you have patience . Good luck .

    • I often remark that to myself. Constantly. If you weren’t married… Excellent Man Father Human Being Trait

    • Richard Zen O’Brien, we got maybe dozens of examples of theft and corruption from the past government. Yet there is not a single active court case right now that gives us even the hint that the Govt cares about recouping those loses. I’d say that would be a move in good faith. Not so?
      Otherwise there is no legislative tightening to suggest change either. Won’t that also be a good starting point?

    • Quote: “Wired868: But what is to stop the PNM from doing the same thing if there are not specific rules to stop what went on before?

      Cuffie: Because the PNM is a different organisation.

      Wired868: Well then we are talking about personalities…

      Cuffie: No.

      Wired868: So we are giving people the benefit of the doubt simply because it is the PNM and not the PP?

      Cuffie: You think it is by accident that in the story they said that only two journalists got houses per year (under the PNM). I mean the PNM gave out the most houses. At that time, the PNM was giving out 6,000 houses per year; and (only) two journalists got houses. I think that in the normal cut and thrust, you can get two journalists getting houses (by that ratio).

      It is because in the PNM when I became a Member of Parliament, certain things were told to me. One, I could not have any of my relatives as my office staff. So all the people who worked with me as my office staff. None are related to me or have any connection to me. And I could not have any relatives as my constituency staff.

      So you see that thing with (Barry) Padarath and Kamla (Persad-Bissessar), I was told that could not happen.

      So we have policies and an ethos. This is a party. It has rules and regulations and, most importantly, it has a culture. And you don’t break what is mandated easily. There are consequences for it…

      Now as a political party, if you work hard and there are people who campaigned and they will expect to get favours. If I am faced with somebody who has worked hard and somebody who I don’t know from Adam. And I faced with two people to recommend. I will recommend the person I know. And I make no apology for saying that.

      But having said that, it is difficult when you can’t get jobs for people who know you and you know well and they figure you are a government minister and you should be able to give them a bligh. But that is part of the thing.

      Wired868: Although you speak about the “culture” of the PNM, the PNM has just fired its Housing Minister. Doesn’t that in itself show that there needs to be something stronger than moral persuasion to regulate the behaviour of ministers?

      Cuffie: Or maybe it shows that there doesn’t to be. Now I am not even sure if it is true to say that she was fired…

    • For me, that is not good enough.

    • ‘Examples of theft and corruption’ does not equate to having a prosecutable case in the court of law. I am 100% convinced Mr Daly would agree with that statement. Therefore, it’s in no way an indicator of the government’s intent to recoup losses. Any (good) lawyer would agree with that.

    • I agree Zen. But are you saying that you have seen nothing that suggests a prosecutable case under the PP? Or nothing that suggests urgent need for a change in legislation to close a loophole?

    • Let say this…I would be disappointed and surprised if no case is brought against anyone from the PP for corruption. Even with weak policing, I believe there’s something there..has to be
      .gonna be a political nightmare for the PNM if they cant. With that said, I know high profile cases are hard and takes time. Look how long the Airport case is going on. Without knowing specifics I am certain there are loopholes to be closed, but it could be done simultaneously, where possible, especially when we have an opposition which has demonstrated a willingness to block anything.

    • Cuffie temporarily forgot Lock Joint, Caroni Racing Complex and the gas station racket?

  34. These are understandable questions about implementation. But quite frankly this should have been done years ago. And kudos to the government for making a correct decision despite the potentially huge political costs. They must have known it would happen after the Axe the Tax movement led to the rise of the COP.

    • You ought to know the difference between theory and reality by now when it comes to the government implementing anything.
      If you think the government ought not to consider the public when it prioritises its list of goals… Well, we should all know how that ends by now.

    • Theory vs Reality is not an argument for doing nothing. It is an argument for doing it right. And considering the public is important of course. But making difficult and unpopular decisions in difficult times is the lot of leadership.

      Can the money raised by a property tax bypass the consolidated fund without a constitutional majority?

    • But Daly made suggestions for doing it differently. What did you think of those?

    • And Dan if the biggest problem is theft, corruption and incompetence–and I think there is enough evidence to show that we lose billions that way every electoral cycle–how is squeezing more money from citizens the answer?

    • I liked his suggestions. But quite frankly, a poorly implemented property tax is better than no tax at all.

    • Theft, corruption and incompetence is a question of expenditure, not revenue. That is a straw man argument. One that has probably been used to fight every tax that has ever been raised by any government in any country.

    • Dan, who handles the revenue that is raised from increased taxes? What do you think happens to the money when it reaches central government?
      Sorry for my layman/straw man simplicity. Let me know if I am losing you and need to explain anything over.

    • The way to address those problems is by better oversight of expenditures. That has nothing to do with taxes. I understand that the tax is massively unpopular but we have an equally massive hole in the budget and it simply has to be done.

    • And what happens if you put tax (or water, for this analogy) into a leaking bucket before you see about the holes?
      That makes much sense to you Dan? Or would only a straw man patch his leaking bucket before pouring more water into it?

    • That’s an argument for abolishing all taxation. I think the analogy is ridiculous.

    • To see that as an argument for abolishing all taxes shows that you really will stop at nothing to blind yourself from the real problem.
      If you are intent at doing everything BUT fix the problem, you will never get anywhere Dan. Step one: Identify the problem.
      If you think what this country needs most is more revenue, then you are not at step one fellah.

    • Was the analogy too technical? There’s a saying: When you can’t convince, then confuse.
      There are many who like to make things as complex as possible for whatever reason.

    • Hey, it’s your analogy. “Water” comes in from other sources besides property tax. Should those be stopped as well? Hence the analogy is ridiculous.
      And you mischaracterize my “intent”. I never once said don’t fix the problem. I said that stopping the property tax is not going to address waste and corruption. If you want to fix the problem, fine. But don’t criticize measures that are intended to address a completely separate problem with the argument that they don’t address the problem you chose to highlight.
      Simple maths. GOTT spends about 20 billion more than it receives in taxes. So you combine 3 things: cut spending; raise more taxes; borrow. All of which the government has done. And been criticized for.
      If you think that I’m overcomplicating that to obfuscate, then the argument is pointless.

    • I didn’t mean for you to think that taxes are the only source of revenue Dan. And I don’t believe you really think that I am so ignorant of Govt revenue.
      Now I didn’t say to stop the Govt from having any revenue at all. If you used my same analogy, clunky as it may be, you’re now saying the answer to the leaking bucket is to throw away all the water that is in it.
      So how does that makes us better off Dan? I didn’t say that either.
      What I’m saying is you’re wasting my time if you think our problems can be solved with more taxes because that is just more to be stolen and mismanaged.
      So it isn’t that I’m against the property tax specifically. I’m saying that any move to fix the economy without considering what put is in this problem in the first place is just wasting time.

    • I have no idea where you get the idea that I’m saying to throw away the water. This bucket analogy makes even less sense the more we discuss it.
      It’s pretty obvious that SOME of our tax revenue is used to run the country. We are not Somalia or Afghanistan. So there is a valid need for taxation. I think we can all agree on that.
      I’m not “wasting your time if you think our problems can be solved with more taxes because that is just more to be stolen and mismanaged”. Taxes have NOTHING AT ALL to do with theft and mismanagement. Taxes determine what comes in. Waste and mismanagement are part of what goes out. If you want to fix that, go ahead. I’d be as happy as you would. But don’t think that it has anything to do with property tax. It’s utterly irrelevant to the tax regime in place, hence my contention that it is a straw man argument.
      So to say that by attempting to fix the fiscal problem we are facing we are not addressing the problem of corruption and incompetence is not a fair argument. The two are separate issues. And should be addressed separately.

    • And I disagree that the idea of increasing revenue streams AND ensuring that revenue is used properly and protected from corrupt civil servants are separate issues.
      And that is where we differ. Nobody is talking about whether a Govt needs taxes to run and so forth. The fact that this is obvious means there is no need to say it.
      I’m saying to you that unless you consider both issues at the same time, then you will always have problems.
      And I’m telling you that your apparent belief that one can and even should separate such issues is naive and out of touch with reality.
      And a failure to grasp reality or understand core issues on the ground is often a reason why governments lose at the polls.

    • Fair enough if you think that they aren’t separate. I think the conjoining of them is an attempt to argue against increased taxes. Which, as I said, is a straw man.
      You address waste and corruption by having proper oversight, supervision and regulation of government expenditures. Not by blocking new taxes. To me that is reality.
      And I think that the failure to grasp reality is the public’s in this case. And yes it will in all likelihood cost the government politically. But it is a necessary sacrifice.

    • Chicken and the egg Dan. Everyone would ask to give them more money today and work out the details to stop them mismanaging it tomorrow. Or next week. Or next year. They’re just checking to see if we’re suckers.
      If you ask me, you fix the problems first. Not only have they not started to address the issues but they said in no uncertain terms that there is no problem at all.

    • Look at the Works Ministry with the speed limit for instance. They accept that the speed limit is too slow. And they said they would adjust it.
      But first they would like to raise fines for breaking a speed limit created around 50 years ago.
      Does that make sense? Not to me it doesn’t.

    • Fixing the problem is a long term cultural, societal and legal issue. The fiscal shortfall is a current one. So you can’t really fix that one first. It’s a purely mechanical issue.

    • I’d take a show of goodwill Dan. For instance if there was even one solitary legal action towards recovering stolen money under the past administration. Or a meaningful change in procurement legislation or anything to make me feel they took that issue more seriously.

    • Listen to Maxie on the topic. He says there will be less corruption now solely because it is the PNM in charge. http://wired868.com/2016/05/05/off-the-cuff-ie-maxie-talks-corruption-pnm-arrogance-and-the-vomit-comet/

    • Well it doesn’t make sense to me that the speed limit is “too low”. Although I am unaware of any academic study that gives an opinion on that. I suspect that is a PR concession. And I agree a poorly handled one.

    • Lol! I happen to agree with him. Given the alternative.

    • Lol. Well that’s true eh Dan. But I’d rather not be at the whims of whoever was in government. In fact I said the PNM should change legislation if only to protect our treasury when they are in opposition.
      That’s if I was willing to give the PNM the benefit of the doubt that they are more morally upstanding.

    • Sigh. Okay. It is difficult to NOT be morally superior to the last administration. Near impossible. Lol. Part of the problem yes.

    • I think the PNM’s greatest weakness is its belief that it always knows best. And its ham fisted assertions of this. But I think in this case, we are facing an urgent and serious problem that requires an unpopular solution.

    • I do understand that there is a real problem with our economy eh Dan. But after all the mismanagement and corruption we have been exposed to, I think the PNM ought to bring us onside before they dig into our pockets again.
      Sure nobody likes paying more. But it helps when you think that revenue collection exercise is fair and the money would be used properly.
      This is about a deficit of trust.

    • A fair point. And one they have not handled well. But the fiscal hole honestly terrifies me. I think it’s difficult to be hyperbolic about that.

    • And I understand what you mean there too. It is a time for strong leadership. But Rowley hopefully realises that it is not just PP stalwarts who are dissatisfied.
      He has to throw us a bone. And I know what would appease me. And it sure ent the firesale of Chaguaramas land to wealthy businessmen. Or continuing to use issues like LifeSport only to score points in Parliament while everyone holds on to their ill-gotten gains.

    • All serious issues. What would appease you then?

      It’s hard to overstate how all encompassing this fiscal problem is. Without addressing it, and soon, everything else becomes academic.

    • The PNM has had almost 2 years to address procurement, whistleblower legislation and to track down and prosecute corrupt officials from last government. I too agree that they have a revenue issue, but I don’t expect this revenue to be raised from a property tax will “trickle down” in a fair way. What is fair is people paying property tax should expect better services somewhere between local government and central government once those taxes are collected. As Lasana stated, I have no trust that will happen.

    • Well how about Imbert obeying a court order and releasing that info on Clico that Afra Raymond has fought for for years?
      Otherwise I have a couple examples that I shared earlier. My gut tells me that to keep giving the Govt the benefit of the doubt is madness Dan.
      Let them find a way to bridge that gap.

  35. Well I’m glad to read Martin Daly’s article ! He is spot on. I fully support that a tax should be paid on our property . I asked on another FB thread a few days ago “why the choice of using rental value over market value (property based or market based ) as a means of deciding tax. I received a series of empty answers and mainly because people simply do the Trini thing and “take a side”. I live in a society where I pay taxes. No one ever enters my home. I don’t have to submit a bunch of pictures and documents etc. It’s easy to implement, safe and objective . The TT process seems hurried, not well studied, hard to implement and not too progressive. With some homework and real thought we can have a very robust property taxation process – which we need

    We often say people don’t like change – not true! If you asking them to change tell them what they changing toward, what’s the reason for the change, the methodology or roadmap for the transition and clarify all methodologies to be used. Then they go along as long as they perceive fairness and equal medicine. Thanks Martin!

  36. What are the consequences? That people who have benefitted from inherited and accumulated wealth have to pay up. The PNM does not want to win the next election, but addressing historical inequalities need to happen.

    • You all are so on point.

      I did not write everything Lasana Liburd on he previous tag, but inequity is addressed in my implementation suggestion.

      And you wrote my first and biggest grouse with thus tax.
      Don’t ask me and poor working people to pay a thing when a. You have not prosecuted how many billions raided in the last seven years???
      And b. Banks reporting $800+ million profits.

      Nah.
      Is all of us mad so to take that???

    • Rowley picked a smart time to do it, which is far away from the elections as possible. My mind crosses on Imbert chuckling and saying “nobody riot yet”…
      Well, they are throwing down the gauntlet. And we will see the reaction they get.

    • That and saying he vex with himself. People too passive here.

    • How can we be sure this addresses inequalities at all? As Vernal always says, our politicians could spoil a bread and bread sandwich!

    • It was not the initial aim but it is a necessary step.

    • Keston, if I could count on fairness then no problem. But I don’t. I’m not at all sure that our family home on Arima Old Road won’t be taxed at the same rate as a similar house in Federation Park.
      There is a mistrust here that politicians have earned over the years. I want the gov’t to interfere in our lives as little as possible and spend more time cutting out their own inefficiencies and corrupt behaviour and going after the billions lost and stolen thanks to their colleagues on either side of the floor.

    • Think about it Keston. Do we really expect ANY government to address inequality? If they even suspected that might be the unintended outcome, they would change course or drop in a loophole or two immediately.

    • ..Given all the supporting documentation required, the State has neither the storage capacity nor the professional capacity to correctly handle this exercise..

    • When is elections ??? Can it be brought forward??

    • What historical ineaualities are you talking about or are you simply throwing out ideas.

  37. I hope he owns property for his family and future generation sake and not dependent on gov’t housing etc.

  38. One PNM supporter wrote a day or two ago that who doesn’t like it can leave the country. That’s the type of attitude that sees us swapping governments every election.

    • Cheups
      typical response from party hacks

    • It will be a miracle if I ever vote in my life again.

    • I feel the same way Mel. One party is horrible. The other is worse. Don’t know if I can go through another trip to a polling station for these jokers.

    • I’m still trying to put into words how I feel about it – those words aren’t fortcoming

    • Well… the first thing:
      Thanks for tagging me Lasana Liburd.

      Second, what you captioned of Daly is totally spot on.

      Third, what is happening I called it… Said they would have to retract.

      Fourth, I want them to continue on
      I have some ideas I have been sharing with a few…on

      a.. How to implement, right course this fiasco.

      b. It can be done, and citizens would pay it IF they could strong arm the govt to do quid pro quo.

      c. It is a prime opportunity for citizens to seize power and revolution, financially.

      I just sitting and pondering strategy, message, how to build a platform to get the message out.

      d. Ultimately, it is pay it, but put the money in escrow or endowment. That citizens keep, guide and operate, for the nation land interests.

      e. Not in banks but in a new ICT virtual financial conglomerate, that is a model to implement here, replicate globally under license.

      f. If not quid pro, then citizens can use that money to correct /address all the ills in the country… From basics of clean water, rain water catchments, integrated sewers ,(wasa only have 30% of country under sewage system!!!), revamp schools (I have no children, but I not sending any pikney to these schools… Diversify economy.. So many things can be done easily in immediate, transport, prisons, traffic… Hospitals. I can go on and on. Things not hard. Just have to get out the system. Have to ditch all the old folk. And creating this bank presents the first means to offer to citizens.

      Fifth, all that might be the plan to create a new politics and do we really need parties???

      Sixth, with this endowment, a means for citizens to divest Totally from the exploitation robber Barron robbery that are the banks. None are excluded. They a sit on one board.

      I have Ideas and I think solutions. But I just in my mouse hole. How to tell the 1.5 mill.? The other .5Mill will be bitter and sour and may try to kill, but hopefully I can convert a portion of the streets into a protective shield for us to shake off our history. They too can benefit if I can be a big enough Oz. Everything is bravery and mindset.

      And I haven’t read Daly yet, don’t know if I will

  39. Certainly agree. They should recall 2010 general elections as property tax was an issue.

  40. Most definitely! They had better change course.

  41. No need to do it better. We got this far since independence. Besides this is PNM country even if they decide to take the occassional break from governance.

  42. What resistance? There will and always been an opposition. As well as anti PNM, anti Rowley positions. They will ALL fail because they reasoning is selfish and unpatriotic.

    • Ahhh. So everyone who doesn’t agree with this is selfish and unpatriotic eh? That what you’re saying Antonio Decklan Ross?

    • Sad, if that is what is being stated

    • Samuel Johnson: Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.

    • Lasana Liburd That will be Samuel Johnson (not Jackson). No doubt you will research the author, as well as the context of that statement and ensure that it is in fact applicable.

    • Thank you Antonio. A freudian slip as I just finished watching Hateful Eight again on Netflix. And actually I challenged you to explain how challenging the Govt makes one selfish and un patriotic.
      Not that you said so explicitly. I was actually trying to work out what you meant.

    • Lasana Liburd I will not explain it unless I MUST……but I am very clear on it…….one example of several others if I must……A person owns property in the USA and T&T…..Pays property taxes to the tune of thousands of US dollars without a whimper…..but advises others to NOT pay the same in Trinidad after not contributing a nickel to the state coffers fro the past 6 years while still utilizing “public goods”….that is not patriotic.

    • it is not even “dollar for dollar” the TTD amounts are miniscule by comparison to other developed / developing countries

    • Okay. I’d agree with that when pointing at Prakash. Sure. But Prakash is nobody’s role model or go to guy on this topic at all. We shouldn’t give the Opposition too much credit here.
      Just as Daly obviously isn’t a UNC stalwart. There are many independent thinkers and possibly PNM supporters who are unhappy too.
      I said elsewhere that my main issue isn’t property tax. I think Daly’s suggestions for how the valuation can be reworked makes sense.
      But otherwise I just believe government needs to make meaningful steps towards dealing with its own corruption, incompetence and waste before dipping further into the pockets of the average citizens.
      Because we lose more money on corruption than we will gain by property tax. THAT’S my problem.

    • That is one very rare example. Not sure how that equates to others who are struggling to make ends meet and they are stretched.. Or peeps who would like to understand how implementing this tax now impacts them or the country…interested how peeps in those situations are viewed..

    • Brian Jordan people who are “struggling to make ends meet” don’t own property/s that attract high rental valuations. Then there are those who in fact are high net worth and property rich who will convince those who don’t have that Property Taxes” are bad but at the same time rent several apartments…..pay NO taxes on the income earned have commercial property while paying residential rates on already subsidized utilities…..SELFISH and UNPATRIOTIC.

    • Antonio Decklan Ross “high rental valuations” is subjective to the payor.. For example, owning a $3000/mth property may seem high for some and low for others. That’s first off. Secondly, someone could have inherited a mansion and due to increased gas prices, increased food prices (general inflation), their take home has been eroded. It doesn’t make them poor, but it doesn’t make them rich either..

    • Brian Jordan I will be the first to acknowledge that government is imperfect (the alternative is private enterprise) at the same time we EXPECT to be provided with public goods which in turn has to be paid for (by us via taxes)….it is a simple balanced equation.

  43. When VAT was introduced in a time when things where economically far worst they hated Robinson yet VAT remains with us today, why because tax revenue helps. Dr. Rowley will get no kudos for what he’s doing when Manning tried the tax in good times they hated it and now in the lean times they hate it! Taxes suck but i won’t make the mistakes of my parents and assume that we can continue the “high living” without paying the price.

    • The flip side to that is Robinson and Manning were both promptly voted out of office.

    • Too many people here living in squalor for taxes to keep paying and they doing without

    • Thats life Dr Rowley will probaly lose alot of ground and as for people living in squalor, we have the highest per income in the Carribbean and yet squalor and crime rages , it will certainly get worse with no alernative immediate income.

    • But he’s missing the point! No one is aging a tax is not needed. What people are indeed saying is leta take sometime to look at methodology and implementation. Also, times have changed dramatically. Robinson came into office in 1985 and the world has changed a lot. People expect different approaches and more. This is about change management and taking people on a journey in a manner that is helpful – it’s not that people do t want to pay taxes

    • Joel, if the major problem for this country is corruption, incompetence and mismanagement of resources, how is squeezing more money from citizens–particularly in these tough financial times–the answer?

    • Very true! But guess what the time for waxing that “fix corruption” mantra is up ! As i said before we have “immediate bills” to pay ! Contractors what thier money, Public Servants and Teachers salary negotations are coming ( and nobody taking 0%). IMF lurking constantly making “vists”. Corruption as with many things only matter when they don’t affect me, Contract gives MP kickback, bad, I have ” a friend on the inside” , good. Corruption has become a cultural issue.

    • Joel, imagine the treasury is a huge bucket. Revenue from the tax man and other resources is water. And corruption and incompetence are the holes in the bucket.
      Is the answer to pour more and more water into that leaking bucket? Or to plug as many holes as you can?
      And which exercise would you prioritise?

    • So Lasana – you just got your answer – stop the talk – corruption has become a cultural issue, so forget about that and don’t fix that. Just create more avenues to feed our cultural mores. Got it Done! Let’s go drink rum and jam still

    • Taxation, like property tax, is essential and many T&T citizens understand as much but what guarantee is there to assure the funds will be used to improve the well-being of Trinbagonians, protect the eco-system, public safety,imrpoved schooling, infrastructure upkeep and improvement, arrest corruption,improve local road maintenence, improved fire and medical emergency services, safe drinking WATER, sewage treatment, police protection, military protection, etc… at the moment, there is no guarantee. None at all

    • Kenneth H. Ransome Jr. – thats the point. Take people on a a communications journey and show them how their lives will benefit – in other words answer their WIFM questions

    • Good point but change comes when you want it for everyone and not just for everyone else. I not seeing thousands marching through the streets for procurement legistation that has been sitting there ! Meh money yeah! Legistation …….hmmm

    • That’s true Joel. People tend to respond more to simple issues. Legislation tends to be stuff that they leave to the “brighter people” and politicians to figure out for them. And that doesn’t always work out too well. Then they react when they feel they were tricked.
      I won’t say that is the only reason for our slowness to protest. But I feel it might be part of it.

    • Even Rowley hated it back in 2009

    • and whats your point PP Hated SAUTT and created organizations that did the same thing or what about MP KPB claim that the war on crime “was on land not the sea”. Realities change both social and economic in this country a wise person knows when to reflect and revise one’s path

    • Joel Riley..and I have been saying, since the then opposition aka gov’t now had a strong stance on that unit being disbanded, why have they made no effort (that I am aware of) to bring back that body, which according to Gillian Lucky, seemed to have been making some inroads, albeit maybe slowly?
      The crime situation still not serious enough, or we waiting to find out which minister has to follow up on that? Sigh.

    • What ‘high living’ are you referring to? ?

  44. Is the ‘Property Tax’ fully understood by Home/Business owners?