Debe housewife Rita Chanka raised her eyebrows with a worried facial expression when she heard Finance Minister Colm Imbert yesterday mention property tax coming into effect next year.
"Now self we need two belt to tighten," she laughed as she, her neighbours Bisundaye Sookraj, 62, Chanardaye Nanan, 74, and her daughter Geeta Nanan, 51, looked at the televised presentation of the minister's 2016/2017 Budget at Nanan's home at Wellington Road.
Citizens will be taxed three per cent on the value of their property, but the minister said home owners will be exempted on the basis of inability to pay.
"I don't know about that. We will have to wait and see because they say one thing and do something else," Chanka said.
Endorsing her view, Geeta, who lives abroad with her children, said her mother was a pensioner and lived alone.
"Sometimes they say one thing and do something else," she said.
Her mother added, "I have arthritis, I can't walk so good. The other day I fall down and hurt my two shoulders."
They were relieved, however, when no mention was made of increasing food prices and happy when the minister announced a 25 per cent rebate for people whose electricity bill is $300 or less. The minister said 120,000 households will benefit from this initiative, which Government will now work out with T&TEC.
Chanka, who cares for her 40-year-old Down Syndrome nephew who is bedridden, said, "I am one of those people. My bill is about $200 and something. I think that is a good idea because it have a lot of poor people in the country."
However, she was again sceptical about whether the initiative would really be implemented.
Their friend Yasmin Edoo, who dropped by while the presentation was taking place, said she did not even have to hear the Budget to know that it was a total disconnect with civil society.
"As a citizen I feel like a stranger. The Government have a total disconnect with the people. They have to come down to the ground people."
When the minister announced a new Crown Point Airport terminal, Edoo rolled her eyes, saying, "That is good, but now is not the time for that. What they need to do is to help the people and increase revenue by pumping money in small projects, not large projects."
However, Chanka said they needed to carefully review what the minister said before she could say whether they were happy or unhappy with the budget presentation.