Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has urged public servants to co-operate with their employer, the State, and work towards the establishment of the TT Revenue Authority and disregard both the Opposition UNC and PSA president Watson Duke who were against the implementation of the authority saying the country was in need of “every penny” during the present economic situation.
“We know there is a huge amount of Government taxes that are not collected in Trinidad and Tobago, and the best advice that we have as to proceed to improve that situation where we need every penny to do everything in this country because our revenue has contracted,” Rowley said.
“Nobody elected the opposition and the PSA to say what is going to go on with respect to the revenue authority in this period, that is a matter for the Government.
“Let me say something to public servants, the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is your employer and Watson duke only represents your interests as you are employed. We have gone out of our way to ensure that the vast majority of people on the Government payroll have seen the care and attention of the Government. And, if the Government decides to improve the taxation collection in this country, I am simply warning public servants and asking public servants, let good sense prevail and co-operate with your employer.”
Addressing a public meeting at the San Fernando City Auditorium, Harris Promenade, San Fernando, on Friday night, he observed that TT was the only country in the world which did not have a property tax system in place.
He said, while some homeowners may agree with the Opposition party concerning the property tax, the “real taxpayers” who owed the state millions of dollars in property taxes were the ones benefiting from the deferral of property taxes.
“And every year by not having property tax in this country, the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer.
“People with malls, people, with huge properties that require the Fire Service to be at their disposal and the policemen out at night to secure their property and the roads paved and the mosquitoes killed, they are not paying one cent in this country because the irresponsible Opposition have decided that they will not co-operate with the Government to collect a tax that is normal across the world.”
Rowley also slammed the action by certain individuals who disrupted Senate sitting on Thursday night saying they had come to create “mob rule” in the Parliament chambers.
“They brought rabble rousers in the Parliament and they have a running commentary going with the speaker, the leader of the Government who is speaking, and when they didn’t like what she was saying, they then created mob rule inside the Parliament.”
Rowley reiterated that gambling was not only illegal in TT but posed a threat to the nation’s national security as well as the local banking sector as many of the casinos were owned by persons of questionable reputation.
“What is legal is members clubs but, under loopholes, these people have surreptitiously created in this country a huge casino industry, generating these kinds of monies,” he said.
“To have unregulated gambling in this country poses a danger to the country, as a matter of fact, if it continues for much longer our banking system could find itself being de-risked and deregulated.”