Former PP Government Minister, Devant Maharaj, says his case against the dreaded Property Tax is pending in the courts. While this is so, he says the Government is moving full steam ahead to implement this tax.
In a release on Saturday, Maharaj stated, “The Government is trying to reintroduce the infamous property tax while my case is still pending before the High Court.
“This is gross disrespect to the court and the rule of law. Colm Imbert is trying to out manoeuvre the court by introducing this bill which seeks to fundamentally alter the policy and structure of the existing property tax laws to the detriment of an unsuspecting and innocent citizenry.
“This bill is a vulgar attempt to politicize the property tax by removing powers which were previously given to the Commissioner of Valuations and the President as Head of State and place the reins firmly in the hands of Imbert.”
He said Imbert will now be in a position to exert direct political influence and control as Clause 23 A of the Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill gives him the power to appoint the members of The Valuation Tribunal.
Maharaj said the abolition of appeals to the Tax Appeal Board which was a superior court of record appointed by the President and its replacement with appeals to this Imbert-appointed tribunal, smacked of political bias.
He said that that it was a recipe for chaos, victimization, and social disaster.
Maharaj said Laventille West MP Fitzgerald Hinds’s statement in Parliament that 150,000 property owners submitted property tax returns was mischievous and misleading. He said many people submitted these returns because they were misled into thinking that they had no choice but to do so because the request mailed to property owners was couched in mandatory terms.
Amendments to the Bill will be debated in Senate on Tuesday.