Diego Martin West MP Dr Keith Rowley has expressed anger that citizens were being forced to finance Government’s expenses through the introduction of increased taxes. These taxes included the ones proposed in the property tax reform plan, after the country’s revenues had been squandered from what Rowley referred to as a mismanagement of funds.
Rowley warned in his contribution on the 2009/2010 budget debate in the House of Representatives yesterday afternoon that next year would be a difficult one for the people of T&T.
He said the burden would be on the people to fork out additional finances for Government to support its spending.
“The money (is) done. The money (is) done. We are now talking about raising revenues,” He said.
Rowley said his objections to the controversial multi-billion-dollar projects of the Urban Development Corporation of T&T (Udecott) were among his attempts to stop taxpayers’ dollars from being put to misuse.
“I am mad as hell about this. You know why? You know why? Because I tried to prevent it and when I tried to prevent, right, I was attacked, I was assailed, I was slandered,” Rowley said.
“When I tried to prevent this, I had my character called into question in this House.
“I was asked to account for money that was never missing and that was done by the head of the Government, my Government, (and) I have made it a known fact that I am PNM and I will remain PNM.”
Rowley expressed outrage that the Government appeared to be ignoring the welfare and well-being the people on a sustained basis.
He called on the Government to do what he described as “back up a little bit (and) face the reality.”
Rowley said, “At the end of the day, it is the pensioners, the poor people, all of us, who are now being called to put our shoulder to the wheel.”
He explained that among those who would be forced to suffer from increases in the property tax were pensioners who lived along the streets of Woodbrook and whom possessed multi-million dollar property as a result of an economic change over the last 25 years although their homes were built 40 years ago.
“Some of them are barely making ends meet on their current income and they are being called upon to pay for the void for those for whom $50 million more in this contract and $60 million more in this contract was no big thing,” Rowley said. “They (those with power and authority) had the opportunity to act on behalf of the people of T&T and (spending) a $50 million more there or a $1 billion more there did not matter.”