Clint Chan Tack
Finance Minister Brian Manning said local government had been thrust into the Dark Ages for five years under the People’s Partnership (PP) coalition government.
Manning, the congressman for San Fernando East, also accused UNC of continuing to mislead the public about the benefits of local government reform.
He made the statements during debate on a motion to approve a joint committee report on the Miscellaneous Provisions (Local Government Reform) Bill 2020, in the House of Representatives on Friday.
Planning Minister Pennelope Beckles and Communications Minister Symon de Nobriga supported Manning in their respective contributions later in the session.
Manning praised a local government policy document drafted by his mother Hazel Manning, a former local government minister, before 2010,
But he lamented, “Unfortunately. This document was allowed to lapse by those on the other side when they took office in 2010.” Manning said that the PP’s term of May 24, 2010 to September 7, 2015 “is considered by many to be the dark ages because no kind of development has taken place.
This included local government reform. Manning argued, “What we got was a deliberate misinformation campaign.” He rejected UNC claims that Finance Minister Colm Imbert was starving UNC-run local government corporations of funding.
“Why would we starve local government bodies, including our own local government bodies? It makes no sense” the most severe economic downturns in world history. »
He said UNC is aware that “local government must be funded by property taxes.” Despite this, Manning claimed that the UNC was doing everything possible to prevent local government reform and the implementation of the property tax.
He reminded MPs that the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) will determine the Annual Rateable Value (ATV) of a property using its Annual Rental Value (ARV). Manning reiterated that ATVs for agricultural and residential properties would be one and three percent respectively.
“There is nothing to worry about with the proposed property tax,” he said.
But Manning said that through the collection of property taxes, local government corporations can be properly funded to provide the services their citizens need.
“Landowners are the greatest beneficiaries of local public services.” These services include the provision of roads, sewage systems and municipal policing.
Without the provision of these services, Manning said people would not be able to enjoy the use of their property and “the value of their property would also drop to zero”.