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St. Elizabeth Residents Urged to Pay Property Tax

St. Elizabeth Residents

Photo: Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie (right), speaks to residents in Lacovia, St. Elizabeth, during his visit on May 4. He urged them to pay their property tax.

Citizens in St. Elizabeth have been assured that the Government has no intention of taking away their lands or houses, and the Administration only wants to collect property taxes, so that the necessary services can be provided for them.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, who addressed residents of the parish during a visit on May 4, urged them to pay their property tax.

“In the same way that you put credit on your phones, you can put a little aside to pay your taxes. We won’t turn you away with a small amount; we understand your challenges, but we need the property tax,” the Minister said.

The tax collection drive started in the parish on April 24 with a group of persons from the Social Development Commission (SDC), which has responsibility for mobilisation and sensitisation on the ground.

The teams visited several communities in the parish to outline the purpose of the tax collection activity.

St. Elizabeth has one of the lowest rates of property tax compliance in the country, and Mr. McKenzie said he felt that it was a good place to start the sensitisation process about the new dispensation regarding property tax collection.

“The parish has a tremendous amount of lands and a tremendous number of persons occupying the land, but they are not compliant. We hope that this activity will see a steady improvement in the collections,” he said.

Meanwhile, with the parish being susceptible to drought conditions, the Minister said a number of Rapid Response trucks would be handed over to the local authority in two weeks. He said they would be concentrated in areas that are affected yearly by drought.

He also said that the fire department in the parish would be getting three new fire trucks from the Japanese Government.

The property tax sensitisation tour will go across the country to each parish. “We want to not only collect taxes but also educate taxpayers as to what it is that their tax dollar does, so that they understand the importance of paying it,” Mr. McKenzie said.

After St. Elizabeth, the Minister and his team will go on to Manchester and Clarendon.

Article by: Barbara Ellington
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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