Corporation chair denies PM’s claim he supports property tax

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation Ryan Rampersad. – Photo courtesy CTTRC

CONTRARY to claims by the Prime Minister that he supports the imposition of property tax, chairman of the Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation (CTTRC) Ryan Rampersad is hitting back.

He charged that Rowley “mischaracterised” statements he was quoted as making in an article published in another newspaper.

During the passage of the Property Tax (Amendment) Bill passed by the House of Representatives on March 18, without opposition support, Rowley quoted a newspaper article in which Rampersad was reported as lamenting that a drop in property tax from three to two per cent of the annual rental value would see his corporation lose $13 million in anticipated revenue.

He said this would affect landslip, watercourse and flood-reduction measures.

In his argument, Rowley said Rampersad’s position indicated division among UNC members on the contentious property tax.

He said Rampersad had hitched the CTTRC wagon to the property tax to develop its community, while his peers in Parliament were “talking hooey.”

In a statement in response on March 20, Rampersad said he wanted to address the misrepresentation that he had endorsed property tax when his party was calling for its repeal.

Contrary to insinuations made by Rowley and his associates, Rampersad said, he “vehemently opposes the implementation of the property tax as orchestrated by the present administration.”

Any suggestion otherwise is not only disingenuous but a blatant misrepresentation of his stance on the matter, the statement said.

Rampersad insisted he did not endorse the “harsh and unjust property tax scheme being enforced by the current PNM government.” His sentiments, the statement continued, echo those of the 19 members of the CTTRC who stand in solidarity with him.

Rampersad expressed support for the position outlined by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, that the act should be repealed the act in keeping with the party’s unwavering commitment to representing the interests and concerns of the people they serve.

“As local government councillors, Rampersad and his team are acutely attuned to the hardships faced by the community, particularly in these challenging times.

“They witness firsthand the struggles of individuals and families striving to make ends meet amidst economic uncertainties.

“It is within this context that they vehemently oppose the implementation of a draconian property tax that only exacerbates the burden on the populace.”

Rampersad reiterated, “The property tax, in its current form, is unjust, onerous, and fundamentally at odds with the well-being of the citizens.”