If people had been paying their property tax from 2010 to now, think of how much more money would be available to offset the economic blows of Covid-19.
But back in 2010, there was an election to be won. The tipping factor was a selfish idea put out to property owners to garner votes: axe the tax. We the people, as a country, lost.
It is only now in a pandemic that we understand where self-serving politics can lead. If only we had a fraction of the uncollected billions of tax dollars.
T&T people are well-educated, welltravelled, and very well know you cannot play ignorant out there in foreign. Property owners have to pay or go to jail. We like to talk about how everything works in the First World.
No pot holes. When roads are fixed they remain fixed. The garbage is collected in matching containers for glass and other refuse. You have libraries and parks everywhere. Lovely highways.
There are ordinary hospitals and specialist hospitals in every county. Police stations and fire stations all over the place. And everywhere is as clean as a whistle. Drop garbage in the place, and you are considered mentally incapacitated.
So, where does the money come from for such perfection, if not from dedicated government revenue collection?
Nothing is free in the First World.
It is only in T&T that people expect to be given cash in hand from an empty Treasury.
In the new Covid-19 existence, citizens of all strata in the society now need help. Many businesses are closing down, and the only political Santa Claus is the Government. Will this Government Santa have to borrow, and then borrow some more? And from whom?
We have many thousands of beautiful homes throughout Trinidad and in Tobago. What fraction of the owners pay property tax?
Some owners have changed the course of rivers in order to build their mini palaces. Some owners live high in the hills. These owners in their beautiful homes crave the accompanying perfection of the First World. How do we get there if it is not for free?