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Moonilal: Why UNC didn’t repeal property tax

BOTH the Basdeo Panday and Kamla Persad-Bissessar governments did not impose any 3% property tax on the people of this country, boasted Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal.

Speaking during debate of the Property Tax Amendment Bill 2024-which was passed-at the Parliament sitting on Monday, Moonilal said the Persad-Bissessar Government was able to build the Children’s Couva hospital, health centres, police stations and schools without imposing this tax on the people during the period 2010-2015.

Moonilal took issue with Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s remarks that the tax was needed to fund services in the country and questioned how the country was governed all these years without property tax at 3%.

‘How we used to pay police and fire and social welfare and public assistance and pension? How? The money from Mars?’ he asked.

The Prime Minister, he said, tried to make a case that crime would decrease if the property tax was paid.

‘Eleven people died over the weekend, that is not going to stop because people pay property tax. That stops when you have proper leadership in national security, in Government,’ he said.

The Government has reached a stage where they are out of touch with reality and ‘living in the sky’ and cannot go to see the people in a situation of mass murder. He said, further, that Finance Minister Colm Imbert pulled the 2% for the tax from a hat and he provided no rationale for the reduction.

This move, he said, came because the Government was defeated by the United National Congress (UNC) and the people on this tax but they want to save face with the reduced number.

He argued further that the Opposition does not need to use the property tax as a measure to win an election as the Government is doing a good job in bringing down itself.

Moonilal said if the Prime Minister has any information about any member who did something wrong in purchasing property abroad, he should report it to the police.

Explaining why the Persad-Bissessar government did not repeal the property tax, Moonilal said the Legislative Review Committee (LRC) was faced with objections from people the ‘PNM left in the Finance Ministry’ who ‘made it a living hell’ to repeal the tax.

Moonilal said a certain person came every week and explained to then-AG Anand Ramlogan and legal affairs minister Prakash Ramadhar that any move to repeal the property tax would be breaking the law.

He said the Persad-Bissessar’s government intended to go back to the old land and building taxes and this, too, was met with objection by ministry people.

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