Senior Political Reporter
Audacity by Faris!
That's how Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar has trashed Local Government Minister Faris Al-Rawi's justification for the property tax that it "takes cash to care."
But while the PNM Government is seeking tax from the public, it is hiring a foreigner for $180,000 a month as Heritage Petroleum CEO, she also noted.
Speaking at the UNC's Monday Night Report in Rio Claro, Persad-Bissessar added, "Let me tell you something, my friends, caring isn't measured by the amount of cash you demand from hard-working citizens!"
The UNC's meeting was in Local Government Elections mode with supporters waving yellow flags and speakers urging the public to vote out the PNM in the upcoming elections.
Following the story in last Sunday's Guardian where Al-Rawi said it takes cash to care, Persad-Bissessar added, "I stand before you to challenge the audacity of the Local Government Minister. Did you hear what he had the nerve to say? He claimed that it takes 'cash to care' as a justification for imposing the property tax! What Faris means is that it's your cash they're taking–not his millions from family rentals–your hard-earned cash in this dreaded property tax.
"This election when they come to your gate for your vote, ask them where is the morality when over 100,000 workers have lost their jobs since 2015, and they're offering workers four per cent, but Rowley hires a new foreigner as CEO at $180,000 per month. Make the rich richer, they don't care about you!"
Saying Al-Rawi also dared to boast about the average sum allocated to regional corporations, Persad-Bissessar pointed out the cuts to Mayaro and Princes Town corporations in two years, "That article where he says you get more, you hear lie ... !"
UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, right, sits with MPs Michelle Benjamin,centre, and Dr Rai Ragbir at the party's Monday Night Report in Rio Claro.
Persad-Bissessar said when the PNM comes to seek property tax to run local government citizens should ask how the UNC government lit and maintained grounds, had garbage collected, paved roads, built drains and cleaned watercourses through local government without the property tax.
"We did it because we grew the economy. We didn’t pay ministers' families $250M in rent, they shrunk the economy by 20 per cent and are now overtaxing you to pay for their poor decisions.
"Their rallying cry is ‘Vote PNM, and you’ll get local government reform.' You hear lie, that’s a big lie. Don't get chained up! One year later the law is there and not a step implemented by them, they’re fooling you!"
Persad-Bissessar noted the collapsed road in the Mayaro area.
Citing T&T's issues, Persad-Bissessar said for elections, "You have the opportunity–do them back! This LG elections is about you standing your ground against Rowley and his government that wasted $250M on rent for family, against the 250 Cabinet recusals, against them ... paying over $1B to eat-a-food lawyers!"
She said the property tax would not go to corporations since all such collections go to the Consolidated Fund and the Government decides how much they release to corporations.
$3.4M for crime conference but no results–Moonilal
UNC deputy leader Roodal Moonilal cited a written reply from the Government released yesterday regarding his question on the cost of the Caricom crime conference–$3.4 million. That included hotel accommodation ($225, 000), food and beverage ($400,000), rental of luxury vehicles ($200,000), set signage ($800,000), and picture taking ($200,000).
"But no results, wasting taxpayers' money!" he added.
Moonilal said there was "no damn local government reform!" (Pausing to note TV Jaagriti banned Barry Padarath for his language), Moonilal added that people had been hearing about reform "since Keith Rowley had hair on he head ... don’t take on this BS on LG reform!”
Moonilal who noted the missing Galil rifle can shoot 30 bullets in three seconds also said there was a recent home invasion in his constituency yet National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds flew to the US yesterday. Moonilal urged supporters to unite and vote out the PNM.
MP Rushton Paray said, "Imagine a Galil rifle just up and walk out of the Defence Force, one in three persons live below the poverty line, investors are fleeing T&T, the wealth gap has widened, let’s chase this PNM Government straight into the ocean! One leader! One party!"