Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 22nd 2017 Contents news A11
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Drugs, guns found in Sando
Two separate police exercises at King's
Wharf, San Fernando yesterday led to the
seizure of a quantity of marijuana, cocaine,
guns, ammunition and the arrest of four
Venezuelan nationals and one local.
According to reports, officers from the
San Fernando CID led by Inspector Don
Gajadhar went to the wharf around 3
pm on Thursday and searched several
abandoned buildings. Sgt Morrison, PCs
Gordon, Moses, Crawford, Joseph, Khan,
Thorne and Harrypersad were also a part
of the operations.
Under the floorboards of one the build-
ings, the officers found 1.2 kilogrammes of
marijuana, 94 grammes of cocaine, two
Taurus pistols and six rounds of ammu-
However, no one was arrested in relation
to the find.
In the second exercise, the officers
partnered with the Customs Division and
arrested four Venezuelan nationals and
one Trinidadian man and seized two .357
Up until yesterday afternoon, the five
were being interrogated at the San Fer-
nando CID office.
Corruption, inequity, chaos.
That is what former legal affairs
minister, Prakash Ramadhar, is for-
seeing with the Government's intro-
duction of the property tax this week.
Ramadhar, who was part of an
"ax the tax" campaign by the Con-
gress of the People (COP) faction
of the former People's Partnership
administration, was responding to
questions on the property tax from
the T&T Guardian.
A former COP political leader, he
resigned the position but remains a
member. He is also St Augustine MP.
Explaining why he felt there would
be corruption and inequity, he said,
"The valuation process may have
problems because it would be a very
"Even though you have objective
criteria, like checking how many
rooms there are in a house and if it
has an air conditioning system and so
on, you may have one officer coming
up with one valuation and another
coming up with a very different one.
"It may also be subject to corrup-
tion. You know how it is in Trinidad.
You can get a lower valuation if it is
you can pass on some money.
"Or if an officer has a friend he may
go easier on him. Things like that. So
it would be subject to a lot of irreg-
"So there'll be inequities in the
valuation exercise that will lead to
different taxations. At the end of
it, it will be very unfair and that's
where most of the challenges will
The Government this week made
good on its promise soon after it as-
sumed power in September 2015 to
bring on the property tax and last
week sent out a release stating all
residential property owners could
expect to receive Valuation Return
Forms (VRF's) in the mail soon.
Ramadhar said his phone has
been ringing off the hook since
the Ministry of Finance release as
worried people have been calling
him about it.
Ramadhar, who maintains
his stance that the tax must be
axed, said the real problem is the
high cost of living now in which
people who have jobs have very
limited disposable income and
there are many who have lost
"There are many who are just
fearful of the whole episode, be-
lieving they may not be able to
pay the tax and can lose their
"People are fearful if they can't
pay the tax their children may
not be able to inherit their prop-
erties. The state can seize your
property if you can't pay the tax."
Ramadhar said taxation in a
time of economic decline will
not help but, rather, worsen the
"In an economy that is con-
tracting and where there is no
hope, taxation does not help at
"What it does is contract it
even further. It will deter people
from investing who will feel they
have to pay high taxes.
Ramadhar said one of the most
painful photographs he has seen
is one placed on the front page of
the April 18 T&T Guardian with
women hugging and crying who
lost their jobs with Caroni Green.
He said there's no easy solu-
tion to the implementation of
property tax in T&T.
He said in America, almost
everything is online and citizens
are able to check and see what is
the rental value of properties in
a particular area.
However in T&T that would be
difficult because there are very
upscale homes next door to very
modest homes, he said.
Prakash: Corruption in property tax
In 2009, the former Patrick
Manning People's National
Movement (PNM) administra-
tion passed the Property Tax
Act 2009 in the Parliament.
It was intended to replace the
old Land and Building Taxes in
which citizens paid a minimal
rent on their properties.
The COP launched a massive
ax the tax campaign. The Peo-
ple's Partnership prior to the
2010 general election promised
citizens on the campaign trail to
repeal the Property Tax Act.
When the PP came into power,
the collection of Land and Build-
ing Taxes stopped.
A member of the Crown Trace community presents a maxi taxi passenger with a bouquet of flowers
during a peace initiative entitled 'T&T We're Sorry...Be Better, not Bitter' along the Southern Main Road in
Enterprise, Chaguanas, on Thursday. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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