“The doctor say to pay as you earn

But Sparrow say you paying to learn

And meh father say he sharpening the axe

For when the collector come to pay off the income tax.”

—Mighty Sparrow (1959)

IN 2017, I submitted a return for property tax, as was then mandated by the Ministry of Finance.

On Friday, I was visited by a field assessor from the Valuation Division. I requested from the officer a carbon copy of the measurements which he took. Such a request could not be entertained, as no provision was made for the property owner to receive any documentation that his property was evaluated.

This, I consider, to be a breach of my fundamental right to know exactly what measurements are used to evaluate my property for the purpose of taxation. Furthermore, without documentation, I can in no way contest any taxation that might be imposed upon me.

It is my understanding that property tax should not be introduced before at least 50 per cent of property owners in the country have been evaluated. If it took three years to evaluate my property, and I live less than ten minutes’ drive from the Evaluation Division in Charleville, I find it unforeseeable that ­suf­ficient property owners would be evaluated before 2050.

As a pensioner with co-morbidity, I now have to budget for two community spread viruses: Covid-19 and PNM 20.

Imam Iqubal Hydal



The mixed reaction to the Government’s selection of measures for easing the country out of the lockdown imposed in late August underscores the challenge of balancing lives and livelihood. The anguish expressed by business interests is understandable.

The reported threat posed to Trinidad and Tobago by the floating, storage and offloading vessel, the Nabarima, moored in nearby Venezuelan waters, has been of concern for nearly two months.

From the start, in an article titled “Brutal chapter”, I wrote on the Government’s cruel neglect of nationals stranded abroad by the pandemic. Recently, the Prime Minister admitted that “after eight months we really need to close this chapter”.

At age 74, and stricken with two “co-morbidi­ties”, as members of the medical profession would describe Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and asthma, I know that if ever I contracted the Covid-19 virus, odds are that it could be a fatal affliction, and I’d likely die during such encounter.

In his 1980 presidential debate with President Jimmy Carter, Republican opponent Ronald Reagan looked the audience in the eyes and asked: “Are you better off [today] than you were four years ago?”

The financial health of the media is the responsibility of its managers, but its institutional health is the business of us all. Both are in trouble and although the economic pain falls most directly on media employees and shareholders, the debilitating impact on the institution is a matter for urgent national discussion and intervention. Our democracy demands it.