Why we should pay that tax

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In the last Saturday Express, a letter headlined ‘If only we’d paid that tax’ went on to contemplate all the benefits that could have been accrued if the payment of the property tax had not been suspended; another article in the Sunday Express surmised the property tax is far from ready; and yet another one stated that business groups were against property tax at this time.

As I may recall, before the suspension there were no contentious issues or major objections to the payments of then existing land and building taxes.

Has the attempt to modernise, simplify and/or improve this into a property tax system served to exemplify why we are considered Third World and underdeveloped?

Internationally, most countries employ a property tax system which facilitates the provision of social and infrastructural services and development by regional and national institutions. Here we have made a political football of it, with players and opposing supporters engaged in spurious and sterile debates throughout our beloved country, which brings me to the issue of national consciousness, and taxation.

Most, if not all, citizens consider ours a beloved country, as exemplified by the strident efforts to return by those stranded outside in this Covid-19 pandemic. So, how should we treat our beloved? How do you treat your beloved? Should we continue taking and asking of our beloved ad infinitum, or should we rally to the cause and willingly contribute to her in the times of her greatest need?

I can only speak for myself and my household-and being patriotic nationals, we will pay that tax and any other we consider just and reasonable contributions to assist our beloved country. We continue to be recipients of services from the State and we look forward to improvements of these services. How will these costs be met?

An article in the Sunday Express by Anthony Wilson and Asha Javeed, headlined ‘Govt subsidising T&T’, included figures showing transfers and subsidies over $27 billion for 2020. Some economists and politicians say don’t reduce them now to avoid further hardship and job losses, then others say don’t apply the tax. Then, how would the costs be met and the deficits be addressed?

Reference was made to Sparrow’s calypso of 1959: ‘The doctor say to pay as you earn, but Sparrow say we paying to learn.’ The overriding question after all this time is: what have we really learned?

Let’s treat our beloved the best we can, T&T.

Darwin Bellamy