THE EDITOR: UNC parliamentarian Davendranath Tancoo cut a pathetic figure last week in his attempt to build a negative narrative against the Valuation Division’s request for property owners to submit a return form with the particulars of their property.
He gave the impression that the UNC’s main objection was the information requested in filling in the return form. He was unsure of himself, fumbling in the claim that the form was onerous and technical for ordinary people to understand.
He said the form was a problem for farmers and fisherfolk to comply with. So I went back to examine the form.
It requests basic information that even a standard one child could understand. The form has eight sections in seven pages. Section one deals with personal information. Sections two to five deal with land location, use and ownership, and section six with residential use. The other sections are for people with large landholdings in commercial use.
Tancoo also took the opportunity to resurrect the failed 2010 “Axe the Tax” campaign by the UNC against the property tax. The question is whether any attempt to renew this campaign would gain traction considering the empty promise made by the People’s Partnership government led by Tancoo’s leader in 2010.
The promise then was to abolish the property tax. One of the PP’s campaign ads in 2010 was, “Stop Karen’s (PNM finance minister) Property Tax! All it takes is your X next to the Circle of Circles; or the Rising Sun – whichever is on the ballot when you cast your vote on Monday (May 24, 2010).”
What the PP government did was suspend the tax even though it had the constitutional majority to abolish it. Suspension was not abolition. Suspension was simply laying it aside for the time being. But why?
Perhaps the UNC realised that property tax was an essential part of the tax regime in TT, as it is in other parts of the world. And that it had intentions to bring it back if it had won the 2015 general election.
We want to know, Mr Tancoo.