THE EDITOR: It is a well-established fact that the basic needs for humans to survive is food, water, air and shelter. Human beings, as an intelligent species, have provided themselves with shelter. Food, water and air are God’s free gifts to humanity.
Thus when the budget suggests that VAT has been removed on bottled water, the reality is that VAT has been removed on the bottle. Water is not a commodity that is manufactured. WASA was established in 1965 and we began paying for God’s live-saving commodity which He has provided through rain, rivers and streams.
Our history records the water riots of 1903 resulted from attempts were made to introduce water rates. Angry protests emerged and the Red House went up in flames. The then Ratepayers Association that was in the forefront of the protests was led by the disenfranchised mayor of Port of Spain, John Cox Newbold, who believed that water was a right of existence and not a scarce commodity to be bought and sold.
Signals have already been given that water will be further taxed when the property tax (shelter) is introduced. Perhaps the next step would be to tax the air we breathe.
IMAAM IQUBAL HYDAL