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EXTORTION By Rawle Ramjag

posted 3 Jun 2017, 05:09 by Gerry Kangalee
In spite of our extremely high crime rate, even within the walls of our burglar-proofed homes, the government demands that we expose ourselves even more by revealing private information on a public platform through the property tax form.

More and more the government, along with the banks, is collecting all our private information with one goal only - to make more money. These two, along with their close ally - the insurance companies, take full advantage of our fears, ignorance and cowardice to exploit us fully. Give them a chance and they will sell fools a snake repellant plan, a snake repellant plan loan, a snake repellant plan loan sale and a snake repellant tax surcharge.

When you go into the city at night and a suspicious-looking character approaches your car and 'taxes' you to keep an eye on it, you feel robbed. And you have been! You pay up because you know if you do not, his band of goons will properly vandalize your car. What he has done is intimidate you, covertly, threaten you and rob you. When the government taxes you, you pay also; for the very same reasons. Refuse, and you will be fined - essentially a tax on your tax!

And, at the very worst, the government will send their goons, the police, after you to pound down your main defence - your door - in the middle of the still and quiet night when your defences are at their lowest, shouting out your name to shame and intimidate you in your neighbourhood, drag you out of your bed, handcuff you, bundle you into their car and shove you into a cell as stink as the roadside drain*. This you have already paid for by means of your taxes. (*Where you might actually end up if you do not pay the parking tax.)

How different are these two situations really? Against your will you are forced to pay. This is extortion. They are both immoral and should be both illegal. Unfortunately for us, legal is not necessarily moral. Whenever we pay, there is an agreement to pay. It may be a simple visual and oral agreement wherein a price is displayed and we say 'give me dat' or a complex one that even a lawyer cannot clarify. But there is an agreement to pay. You agree to pay.

Where is your agreement to pay taxes? We are not buying in the market, spending small amounts, where we may switch vendors immediately if we are dissatisfied. We are conducting huge business with billions of dollars! Where is my contract? I want it! It must be a hard copy; typed on a letterhead; stamped, signed and dated. It must clearly state what I am paying for and when it is to be delivered. It must have a guarantee or warranty. It must have a refund policy. Only then should it be legal.

Ideally, the only reason we should pay taxes should be moral obligation. In fact, research done in other countries has shown that most people agree to pay taxes if they think it is fair. But how can we in Trinidad & Tobago find this tax to be fair when we have governments squandering revenue and treating us with contempt when we complain? As far as I am aware, there is no law that can demand that a citizen fill out and submit any form by any deadline. And hence there can be no penalty for the failure to submit the same.