Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 24th 2017 Contents A6 news
guardian.co.tt Friday, March 24, 2017
Imbert: Property tax
notices out in two weeks
Notice of assessment of properties for
collection of the Property Tax will be
posted or hand-delivered to owners and
occupiers within the next week or two.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert announced
this at yesterday's post-Cabinet media
The issuing of notice of assessments will
be the first step towards collection of the
property tax which was announced in the
Government's first (2016) Budget.
It was not collected that year, but was
re-stated in the 2017 budget for collection
starting this year.
The tax will be based on three percent of
the annual rental value of a property, Gov-
ernment had said.
Imbert stressed it is not based on a prop-
erty's sale price value.
He added: " I've seen numerous occasions
where errors are being made where people
have taken the capital value of a property -
maybe $1 million---and multiplied it by the
three per cent and arrived at a property tax
figure. That's wrong and is scaring people."
"The property tax is based on the rental
value so that after the annual rentable val-
ue is determined based on the formula and
reasonableness, the three percent is applied
to the rental value,"
For example, Imbert said a property rent-
ing for $5,000 monthly will have an annual
rentable value of $60,000. According to the
law, that figure is reduced by ten per cent---to
$54,000---and multiplied by the three per
"So that property tax is a little over $1,500
a year---not a month---and that works out to
be about $120 to $130 a month for a typical
There will be a process to challenge or
appeal assessments if people are not satisfied
with theirs, Imbert added.
A communication exercise will be
launched to explain the process and give
typical property values to the public, he said.
Government is also hiring 248 people for
the Finance Ministry's Valuation Division to
do field assessments and supervise imple-
mentation of the tax.
So far, about 2,000 applications for the
248 posts have been received, Imbert added,
noting the process would create jobs.
Government projects within 12 months,
every property will be on the rolls.
Also, following Government's drawdown
of US$251million from the Heritage and Sta-
bilisation Fund (HSF) this week, Imbert said
the Government was moving forward with
separating the HSF into two components .
This involves one for saving and one
for use in the event of petroleum revenue
He said the reform was discussed at a
2016 forum with stakeholders and " This
has been discussed for many, many years
and we're moving forward with the sepa-
Government is receiving advice from
consultants on law to reform and separate
"The Heritage component will not be
touched for withdrawals unless very spe-
cial criteria is satisfied. The Stabilisation
component would be used in the way it's
being used now - to assist where there's
The consultants involve the International
Monetary Fund (IMF) experts who super-
vised initiation of the HSF in 2007. Imbert
said they're in the final stages of advice.
He said the Heritage component dedicat-
ed only to savings, will provide a buffer for
future generations. The Stabilisation com-
ponent will allow drawdowns to be made
if petroleum revenues fall short.
Imbert said deposits will be made into the
Heritage component as new income arrive.
He said the new rules will have to be based
on reality, "If you're having a deficit, you
must be able to withdraw,"
The HSF currently had US$5.447 billion,
Cabinet approves new home for TTW
Cabinet yesterday approved the
lease of state-owned property at 6
Newbold Street, St Clair, for use by the
Trinidad Theatre Workshop (TTW).
This follows a request by the Ministry
of Community Development, Culture and
the Arts through the Ministry of Public
Administration and Communications for
suitable accommodations for TTW be-
cause its old location at 23 Jerningham
Avenue, Belmont, is up for sale.
Cabinet approved a five year lease at a
peppercorn rent of $10 a year. TTW will
use the new location as an educational
facility for theatre arts.
Minister of Public Administration and
Communications Maxie Cuffie said: "The
Government is honoured to be of assis-
tance to TTW given the contribution the
space has made and continues to make, to
theatre arts in Trinidad and Tobago and the
wider Caribbean. And while we mourn the
loss of Derek Walcott, there is no greater
way to honour him but to ensure TTW
is not homeless and his vision lives on."
TTW was founded by the late Sir Derek
Alton Walcott in 1959 and he continued as
the workshop's director until 1971.
Beryl McBurnie, Stanley Marshall and
Errol Jones were among those who honed
their craft at TTW.
Minister of Community Development,
Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby,
added: "Sir Derek Walcott's vision for and
contribution to the theatre arts lives on
in the TTW and the MCDCA is pleased to
have played a role in ensuring that training
in the arts continues to be accessible as
a critical pillar of cultural development."
Cabinet also approved a delegation, led
byGadsby-Dolly and a member of TTW
to attend Walcott's funeral service which
takes tomorrow in Castries, St Lucia
Walcott died on March 17 at the age of
Minister: SWMCOL to begin recycling
The Solid Waste Management Com-
pany Limited (SWMCOL) will soon es-
tablish a waste recycling system.
Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Re-
gis said at yesterday's post Cabinet news
conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St
Ann's: "We have a serious problem with
dumping and we have decided that recy-
cling is the way to go."
She said the Office of the Attorney Gen-
eral will be reviewing SWMCOL's mandate
to include the ability to recycle and manage
In addition, citizens will be sensitised
about the benefits of recycling and taught
how to do it.
"We are determined to ensure that waste
disposal is not a burden on our society but
is used as in other developing countries and
developed countries a s a valuable resource,"
"The approach of this government will
also stimulate the development of lucrative
downstream based industries nationally,
encourage entrepreneurship, create jobs,
protect human health and and the envi-
In response to a question, the minister
said Government is considering banning
styrofoam but the matter is not yet before
"We have set up a committee in the Min-
istry of Planning and Development that is
working on that with business entities that
are involved in producing styrofoam. There
are health challenges that have been proven
with the use of styrofoam," she said.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert during
yesterday's post cabinet press conference
at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann's,
yesterday. PHOTO COURTESY THE OFFICE OF
THE PRIME MINISTER
Prime Minister Keith Rowley has called
on security heads for accountability on the
crime issues currently being seen.
Minister Stuart Young (Minister in the Prime
Minister's office) indicated this at yesterday's
weekly Government media briefing.
He was responding to queries about the the dis-
covery of the body of student Jesse Beephan near
the Waterloo Secondary School on Wednesday.
Young said Government was still getting the
facts of the matter following the discovery of
"We 're very concerned about the death of any-
one in T&T, we find this (matter) most tragic, but
we don't yet have all the circumstances," he said.
Young said a meeting of the National Securi-
ty Council which was called on Wednesday by
Rowley, who is chairman of the council, called on
council members for accountability on "issues
we've been seeing."
The council comprises heads of the various
security divisions and related agencies.
Young said he did not know if the call also ex-
tended to the Education Ministry as no-one yet
knew how Beephan died. But he said the Minis-
tries of National Security and Education had been
working together to deal with issues regarding
students and to "close any holes" which arisen.
Asked about Archbishop Joseph Harris' view
that hangings wouldn't solve crime, Young said
the Archbishop was entitled to his view and the
Government always encouraged views .
"But hangings remain the law of T&T and both
the Prime Minister and Attorney General have
said Government intends to carry out the law of
T&T concerning the death penalty," Young added.
Young also said Government has extended to
the people of the United Kingdom, deepest con-
dolences regarding Wednesday's terrorist attack
near the British Parliament.
British-born Khalid Masood, 52, of Kent had
ploughed a vehicle into a crowd of pedestrians
along London's Westminster Bridge, killing two
and injuring 40 including tourists and students.
Masood subsequently tried to storm the nearby
British Parliament, but was confronted by a po-
liceman whom he stabbed to death. He was shot
by security officers.
Young said: "We stand in solidarity with the
people of the UK and the rest of the world in con-
demning any attack on democracy. We express
deep sympathy to them---they're in our hearts,
minds and prayers." --- Gail Alexander
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