Dear Editor: The Penal Papers; a satirical response to proposed doubles taxation

“The aloo pie vending bourgeoisie, the saheena ladies and lords, the noblemen who sell nuts and fruits in traffic—all hiding in plain sight—are the wealthiest of all. Even Anthony Bourdain wasn’t invited to their houses for dinner!

“[…] Ever wondered why there are 30 different doubles vendors called ‘D Original’? It’s all tax planning: loss allocation and intra-group loans. The conspiracy runs deep.”

The following Letter to the Editor, submitted by ‘Baigan Jones’, offers a tongue-in-cheek retort to American Chamber of Commerce attorney and tax expert Angelique Bart’s call to make doubles vendors share their loot:

Photo: American Chamber of Commerce attorney and tax expert Angelique Bart.

The lavish lifestyle of local doubles vendors was alluded to earlier this week by a prominent attorney-at-law, speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce’s mid-year budget analysis.

The attorney stated that she could quit the practice of law for the lucrative doubles vending profession. In her words:

“My husband says of the doubles vendor—if I were to quit law, we could do that. Because you have 200 customers buying at $5 per doubles, in five minutes. How much money would you be making?

“I can’t follow his math, but basically he is saying there is about 200-plus million on average that the doubles section of society generates.”

Math is indeed difficult. Nonetheless, the “doubles section” aren’t the only culprits. (For the uncultured, the doubles section is located near the percussion instruments).

The aloo pie vending bourgeoisie, the saheena ladies and lords, the noblemen who sell nuts and fruits in traffic—all hiding in plain sight—are the wealthiest of all. Even Anthony Bourdain wasn’t invited to their houses for dinner!

Photo: US television personality Anthony Bourdain (left facing camera) has dinner with representatives from Trinidad and Tobago’s Syrian/Lebanese community.

It’s time for them to come out of the shadows and face the ‘Tax man’. Their ill-gotten gains have been sheltered behind blind trusts and shell corporations for far too long!

Ever wondered why there are 30 different doubles vendors called ‘D Original’? It’s all tax planning: loss allocation and intra-group loans. The conspiracy runs deep.

I, for one, applaud the attorney’s disproportionate attack on the lowest income earners in society. The Government must immediately embark on a patriotic mission to expropriate these ill-gotten gains from the street-vending cabal.

Strip them of their Porsches, Rolexes and yachts; these proceeds of crime cannot be allowed to exist in a utopian society like sweet, sweet TnT.

Photo: A customer prepares his doubles meal.
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186 comments


  1. Warning: Undefined variable $userid in /www/wired868_759/public/wp-content/plugins/user-photo/user-photo.php on line 114

    So true Swisha King we fightn down d small man n fightn amongst ourselves n d govt thiefing out all d money n d 1% laughing at us

  2. Just asking ,what do these vendors contribute but they have access to over the yrs of free education free old age pension free subsidies free hospital care, they don’t contribute to garbage collection roads infrastructure. They expect taxpayers to handle the burden ,even if they pay vat,everyone does plus pay 25 percent of their sometimes low salaries in income tax while the increase prices on whim and fancies ,smh.

  3. Why the government don’t collect royality from petrotrin. Mc

  4. Shyam Ramnarine thank you…such a limited view…SMH – not to include cost of raw materials (flower, chana, oil, gas, electricity – have to start prep before sun up). Let’s not forget employee costs…when was the last time you see a single person selling doubles…those employees have to be paid as well

  5. I am a fan of this page but I really hope the editor/s really sit before the put posts up.. unfortunately not everyone would understand the angles in which you take and won’t fully grasp what is being said. Don’t take the gullable for a ride when they don’t know what they riding in…. (Not about this post but just a general observation)

    • What should we do to help people understand?

    • Unfortunately that has no answer. Don’t matter what you do some won’t get it… Even though I would like all to enjoy what is said here the truth is that this is just a fantasy of mine..

    • Your point is valid because a lot of folks who may not have the faculty to truly appreciate the artistry and end up posting negative comments. I for one was very close to losing my temporary wuk from a headline on this site! The stories provoke thought, but the uninformed continue to remain blinded so every now and again one may see a comment from Public Enemy#1 with three points of view to also help different comments.

      One such view is that Doubles is documented as being invented in Princes Town in 1936 and not Penal. Unless there was an inquiry in Penal or a Newspaper from there, I really did not get it- “Penal Papers”. However, this was a decade before the Pan. Panmen dont pay taxes as far as I am aware.

      As far as I see, more people of East Indian descent are buying from sellers of African or mixed descent. A person that looked of African descent brought it up and the East Indian descendant did not know the huge figures from a CNC3 interview. I ask some how can it be racist when the country is coming together to defend something of heritage and a source of employment for many?

      For doubles to be in a conversation in the AMCHAM means that we have value in one of our products. One can be a bit perplexed only knowing that the AMCHAM is supposed to promote free trade in its objectives. I have to take a few more classes to see the link between free trade and internal taxes.

    • Matthew that’s just how it is. If you slow down your class too much, the more educated people would get bored. If you go too fast, most will be left behind.
      We try to have a balance but we know we won’t reach everyone.
      Once you’re trying to provoke thought, you’re always only going to have a niche audience. You’re never going to be mainstream.

  6. According to their own research #Laywers & #Doctors are the biggest #TaxEvaders
    But want to go after the little of the littlest, lowest on the food chain, really?
    #GetTheFuckOuttaHereWitDatShit!
    Wat about politicians and all their fancy cars…?! we need to open up that can of worms, full✅

  7. Hmmm. They get up at 2am, face the heat and then come out and sell their doubles. Hopefullythey get 200 persons buying their diubles. Tgey are shot at and robbed. Stay all day in the hot sun. Not stealing or begging. In fact I know of one who is a UWI graduate who sells doubles because he can’t get a job with his degree. Now thry want to tax thise who orefer to take the iniative to make an honest living ratger than line up in front of welfsre. Look out pie men you guys are also next.

  8. I like the phrase “…hiding in plain sight…” EVERYONE has to pay their just due via the tax system to help maintain this vehicle that is Trinidad and Tobago. Large segments of public servants and other citizens eke out lives from month to month while others just profiting and prospering without contributing to the coffers. While I applaud the hard working and sacrifical efforts of some of those persons they MUST give their portion like the rest of us…plain talk

  9. How can this be satire ? It breaks the first rule – it is not funny

  10. Check cost of pepper shadow benni mango tambrine cucumber channa flour oil and other ingredients to make the doubles .then sleepless hours to prepare before production .do the maths most a man could be making is a $2 on a doubles.

  11. To the person who did the maths did you minus the capital or the expenditure ?if not then do over the maths and come again.

  12. But 144k is not profit. What about cost ?

  13. First I will like to see all politicians paying their tax stop all tax break on all these ppl that is allowed tax break let them pay their tax after all we are all employed & by rule we should be paying tax

  14. What about cock tax??? Lol talk nah!

  15. There are genuine doubles venders who do everything for them self but if investigated properly people would see there are doubles conglomerates that employs doubles wrappers and cashiers also kitchen workers . Gone are the days when the doubles man on the corner was working for him self , if checked one would see a lot of doubles venders are working for a doubles company , I know because I know a lot of people who does just that . I wonder if that’s why the price of doubles went up , just a thought .

  16. Why don’t the dumbass government start growing food and encourage high tech manufacturing.
    We have brain dead and incompetent minister just bumping their gums.

    Protect farmers and their produce.

  17. Seeraji Ramcharan So how do come you don’t understand how income tax works?

  18. Reouti La Rosa income tax is a tax on income not profit. You won’t believe how many people don’t understand that.

  19. Shyam Ramnarine this is income tax not corporation tax. Tax on income not profit.

  20. Tax everyone till they dead nah man, except government who benefitting from the tax, forget all the big companies who deducting NIS from employees salaries and not paying it, forget the ones who passing a bribe so they will be exempt from paying. Continue to tax the poor man. Oh and by the way, we would be most grateful if the millions being earned from the pitch lake be accounted for.

  21. This is still a developing country. People are still struggling. . Many children do not get milk and eggs,as basic as that

  22. Enightoola I do not sell doubles neither do I have relatives who sell doubles. I have been paying income tax since 1977 so do not even try to judge me.

  23. How about we tax the bandits as well! Inclusive of bandit contractors,1%businessmen and all bandit politicians ! The system is simply not equitable with the lowest earners having to pay a greater % of their earnings.

  24. Well they will have to come down on the nuts man…chow man and the bottled water man by all them traffick lights too….
    Everyone already pay taxes for every thing they buy…added to more is a burden for most of us

  25. calculation iswrong // why? to purchase all the ingredients is very costly plus vat take out all expenses and check what is your profit even you have to pay your helpers plus mangoes

  26. Shyam Ramnarine people tend to forget/ don’t know that the money you take home after selling is NOT profit, it’s gross. Gross money minus expenses equal net or profit. To break it down even more, for every$5 the doubles man get for a doubles at least $3 is spent toward producing that 1 doubles. So he makes maybe$2 on every doubles, maybe even less.

  27. You forgot the cost of the materials for the production of the doubles, the number people who worked daily to produce the doubles! It would be nice if you do some research and then do the maths for each of the worker and then do the calculations again. Love and Light.

  28. Do road side vendors pay any taxes other than vat but still access health care n other tings that taxes pay for like paved roads, free education, etc

  29. What about the lawyers and Doctors who take payment in cash? Do they always declare their full income?

  30. Where are the checks and balances going to come from? If the doubles man say he sold 10 doubles for the day, who is to say that he’s not telling the truth and actually sold a 100? So let the government do their do, and still they are not going to succeed in collecting taxes from any self employed person. What they should try to do instead is get those big business men who owes millions to pay up !!!

    • There is such a thing as a declaration, if found lying on the tax form is a prison sentence that you face. Plus gov can instigate a flat tax that takes into account certain factors that would put different vendors in different categories. Ain’t they finding time to check residences? Why not check businesses? Also, they can use business expenses to determine income and thus tax

    • There is also the fact that if they find a way to tax the doubles man, he has to declare his sales and well, they will question, so you say you sold only 10 doubles on Wednesday, How are you living? The doubles man will also have to show receipts for raw materials – Channa, oil, etc.

    • Roy Isava I understand what you’re saying but food is a perishable item. I can produce all kind of receipts showing that I bought x amount of raw materials, and I made the product. However I could always say that I made the product, stood up whole day to sell and when it didn’t I threw it away. Who’s to doubt him? We all know the mentality of our fellow citizens and they would find any loop hole possible to get away from paying. btw, I am not self employed, company deducts paye whether I like it or not, lol

    • Reouti La Rosa in income tax your losses don’t count. Is income not profit being tax. So Where did the doubles man get the money to buy the ingredients in the first place. Thst is question that will be asked.

    • Emile Adam Enightoola I don’t have a problem with these small businesses being taxed, all I am doing is showing how hard it will be on any government part to collect it. There is nothing in place to monitor these types of businesses.

    • Emile Adam Enightoola it is downright unfair to see people who have not made a monetary contribution to society are the first ones getting their business in order to collect old age pension, and quarrelling that it’s never sufficient, whilst people like me, who pay thousands every year in taxes are give the run-around and basically the same as those who never did

  31. Narish Surajbally You’d never believe my voting history so I’ll bring it all back to my original point. I pay income tax. So why alyuh brakesing for?

  32. Lasana Liburd I have no interest in having anything in common with him. And I make no apologies for my comments. But I will refrain from any further insults.

  33. Narish I haven’t even read the exchange so I won’t pass judgment on Emile. Things get heated from time to time. But we stay away from personal insults.
    I’ve seen arguments end with people finding some common ground. That will never happen once there are insults.

  34. Lasana Liburd Some ppl have it coming. Like Mr. pseudo-intellectual over there.

  35. Emile Adam Enightoola lol not even close. I have zero patience for political sycophancy and feigned ignorance. I know u think ur being clever, but u just come off as transparent and indoctrinated. I already told to gwan from here. Take the advice.

  36. Narish Surajbally please don’t do the personal insults. We do our best to disagree civilly. ??

  37. Narish Surajbally Why you getting upset for? Are my questions challenging your belief system?

  38. Troy Roberts profit is 300% on cost.

  39. Emile Adam Enightoola 1. Are u fukken serious?
    2. Read d news u braindead sycophant.

  40. Narish Surajbally 1. Who tell you the middle class honest? 2. Where you get your info that imbert own a tax free yacht.?

  41. Seeraji Ramcharan so then they make less money and are taxed less. I see you really have never paid income tax before.

  42. Seeraji Ramcharan you acting like this is new tax. This is an existing tax.

  43. Taxing the lower end is the lazy way out
    Go after the higher end who dodge the taxman , the drug lords, money launderers and the other unscrupulous businesses.

  44. Rain or shine they’re selling? Sick or well they’re selling? Vehicle at the mechanic shop they’re selling? Really?

  45. Easy money for them they can’t get their shit together only robbing people who trying to make a living

  46. Leave the doubles man alone nah , geez man !!

  47. What i seeing on this thread is plenty people who never pay income tax. Talking about profit and not income. Tax evaders all of Alyuh.

  48. Ramohed Mutt if they not a registered business then it’s income tax. And income tax is on income not profit.

  49. Brandon Ramdial if they not a registered business then it’s income tax. And income tax is a tax on income not profit.

  50. 144000.00 is revenue what is to profit. Profit is derived after expenses are deducted.

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