Leader of the Congress of the People (COP), Prakash Ramadhar, yesterday showered praises on the National Security Minister for his success in reducing crime, especially in areas like Laventille.
COP has vehemently and consistently called for the removal of Jack Warner from the Cabinet.
Speaking during the budget debate in the House of Representatives yesterday, Ramadhar, whose party garnered electoral support on the "axe the tax" campaign, also said the COP was prepared to partner with the Government on the introduction of property tax.
Ramadhar said the "axe the tax" slogan was really rooted in the principle of "no taxation without representation".
He said in 2009 when the PNM sought to introduce the property tax regime, the COP thought it was not worthy of a democratic society. He said there would have been arbitrary valuations on properties, and the taxation of those properties without proper consultation.
He added that the monies raised from these taxes would not have gone towards servicing the communities which paid them but "into that deep, dark hole where hundreds of billions of dollars of the people's wealth had been wasted for one decade before that".
Ramadhar said the COP therefore stated that it would "axe that (particular) tax".
"No one in this country believes that there should be no taxes on properties for the benefit of the communities. And that is what we are talking about. When the Minister of Finance speaks that is my understanding—that the property tax he is speaking about is one that is fair, where evaluations are reasonable and realistic and the income generated from those taxes would be used to uplift the community from which those taxes come. And that is why he speaks to the need for proper consultation with the communities before we go forward," Ramadhar stated.
He added: "The COP will partner with that".
Ramadhar said on Monday he heard from the PNM about who got killed in Laventille.
"The Minister of National Security, as you know I hold no brief for him, he and I have had our public differences. But you must give Jack his jacket. When, for 30 days in an area that was devastated by murder and not just murder—the horror of it was that not only citizens but children were being cold-bloodedly executed. How could a society endure that. Whatever the Minister of National Security did to put a stop to that, or to curtail it, I congratulate him. Law and order have been restored," Ramadhar said to desk-thumping.
Responding to crosstalk from the PNM about a murder in Laventille early yesterday morning, Ramadhar stated: "Yes, talk about last night. I understand they (the PNM) proud now that they get a murder in Laventille.
"All yuh aint shame!" said Chandresh Sharma.
Ramadhar continued: "I feel so hurt. I ask the question, things don't just happen yuh know. When persons stand in this chamber...the heart and soul of the conscience of a country and people speak and empower the lawless. ...Because no law abiding citizen is afraid of law enforcement agencies."
He said it was no surprise that contrary to what was being said by the PNM about people being afraid and were locked-down and while the PNM were condemning the actions to restore law, order and peace, the people were celebrating in Laventille. He said the PNM, "I don't mean intentionally", "was empowering those who do not wish to see a lawful society to go out and commit that murder last night. You have to understand the psychology of things. There is a consequence to your words."