Property Matters – Tobago Sandals

Property Matters – Tobago Sandals
  1. User groups and other interest groups should be properly consulted on decisions regarding public building projects, to ensure that relevant views can be expressed at the appropriate time and taken into account before decisions are made…
    (The emphasis is mine)

2010 Uff Report into the Construction Sector.

Is there a link between the Uff Report and Tobago Sandals? Is Tobago Sandals such a unique opportunity that we ought to adopt unique standards to assess its costs and benefits? What are the various benefits being proclaimed by the supporters of that project? This article will examine some of those claims against the factual background.

I returned to the large-scale and controversial proposals for Tobago Sandals by using that important Uff Report recommendation as my opener. The Uff Enquiry into the Construction Industry arose due to strong protests and complaints from the JCC, T&T Transparency Institute, myself and other individuals. One of the most decisive voices calling for those operations to be probed was Dr Keith Rowley, who was at that stage at loggerheads with his colleagues in government. I think Dr Rowley gained considerable kudos for taking a stand against the improper practices of his colleagues in that area. Continue reading “Property Matters – Tobago Sandals”

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Property Tax Setbacks

property-tax-logo
devant-anandThe High Court issued a ruIing by Justice Frank Seepersad on Friday 19 May 2017 that the Valuation Return Forms (VRFs) which property owners had been required to complete for the implementation of the Property Tax was to be subject to a “….stay of the implementation and/or enforcement…”. That stay is pending the full hearings of the judicial review case brought by former AG, Anand Ramlogan SC, on behalf of former PP Minister, Devant Maharaj. The State has already filed an appeal and that is to be heard at the Appeal Court on Monday 22nd May 2017.

This important national policy is now before the Courts for determination as to the legality of its implementation at this time. To be sure, there are sharp political rivalries at stake here and heavy questions of how do we attain good public administration. Continue reading “Property Tax Setbacks”

AUDIO: Property Tax interview on 96.1FM

This is my interview on 96.1 FM with Nikki Crosby on Tuesday 2nd May 2017…this was a great session with Tweez…Rodey and Raw Fusion…there were also some engaging ‘phone calls and text messages from the public. Audio courtesy TTRN

Programme Date: 2 May 2017
Programme Length: 00:34:37

Property Tax FAQs

This article contains background information on the new Property Tax and answers some Frequently Asked Questions.

Getting the data
In this information age, the government was not able to create an accessible database into which property owners could have directly uploaded the required property details. Why not adopt this more efficient method to gather the information? We can, and must, do better.

Whose Taxes?
These taxes seem to be payable to the Consolidated Fund. It is my view that they ought to be collected by the respective Local Government bodies.

I support the re-instatement of the Property Tax, it is long-overdue and property owners have enjoyed a seven-year holiday since it was last collected in 2009. I have two substantial criticisms which are set out in the sidebar, but overall this is an important and positive move by the government.

There are strong objections and many questions on this new tax with two main sources – people who are genuinely unsure of how the new arrangements will work and political objectors from the Opposition.

These are the national totals of Property Tax paid in the period 1993-2009, compiled from –

  • House Rates, which is paid in Municipal Corporations, from the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for the Statutory Boards, Similar Authorities and the THA.
  • Land & Building Taxes, which is paid in the rest of the country, from the Estimates of Revenue.

Continue reading “Property Tax FAQs”