Category Archives: Redwall News

News about Trinidad and Tobago.

Solving crime in Trinidad: A politician’s playbook

It’s 2024. General elections are in 2025. Can you imagine government ministers consulting their playbooks: Trinidad politics for Dummies. In one corner you have the UNC pandering toward police officers:

“We feel your pain…the government doesn’t understand or care about you. We will take care of you. We will ensure you get your pay increases.”

In the opposite corner, you have the PNM. Like the UNC, their playbook has one page. Four tactics. Tactic #1: Free food; Tactic #2: Free rum; Tactic #3: Pave roads; Tactic #4 talk about solving crime. Fitzgerald Hinds can’t find his playbook, Rowan Cinnamom is holding his upside down.

In a dusty corner, the prime minister finds a 600-page report that looked into the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service. The report was written in 2017 and concluded that the police service is ‘very troubled and wounded.’ Awww. So sad. It sounds like police officers need a hug. Maybe TTPS should introduce ‘Therapy Thursdays’ instead of ‘Tactical Tuesdays.'”

600 pages. Can you imagine Rowan Cinnamom’s face?

“You read all those words?”

Anyway, with no other plan in sight, it makes sense to comment on the report, to more or less suggest that it’s up to the commissioner to action the plans. Professor Emeritus Dr Ramesh Deosaran says that one strong recommendation is establishing a police inspectorate to address issues like absenteeism and performance; because clearly, what a troubled and wounded police force needs is more paperwork and oversight.

Wait, what? I’m confused. As a citizen, you’re telling me that the police service doesn’t have that? And I don’t know if you know this but the word Emeritus is used when an official has retired but is allowed to retain their title as an honor. Honestly, I’m embarrassed because for all this time I thought Professor Deosaran’s name was Emeritus Ramesh Deosaran.

A serious joke about marijuana smokers in Trinidad

As a content creator, there’s a lot to consider especially when you’re “pushing boundaries”. Maybe you like dark humour, political satire or touchy subjects, and you’re reluctant to share your content. Trust me. I understand. I’m sitting on jokes that I’m not sure about. Along the way I’ve learned a thing or two from publishing articles and videos on political satire and the state of things in Trinidad and Tobago. I’ll share what I learned. But first: context. Context is key.

In November 2023, I wrote and published a joke about some marijuana users in Trinidad. I didn’t say it was a joke and I didn’t say “some” marijuana users. In the interest of a fast-paced video I cut lines that would have provided context. A mistake? Perhaps. I was willing to take the risk. On Tik Tok and Facebook, some “users”… I don’t know what’s the right word, but some “users” blazed up the comment section.

Marijuana in Trinidad

It’s January 2023. Attacks continue to trickle in. In Trinidad, it’s illegal to smoke marijuana in public places. Despite what you may witness at rivers, beaches and on pavements, it remains illegal. Authorities seem unbothered. Civilians too. At Caura River, I’ve sat next to men and women who’ve casually fired up arthritic-looking joints. Honestly, it doesn’t bother me. And it doesn’t look like it bothers nearby children and drinkers. Which is weird given the dangers of secondhand marijuana smoke to children. I’m not here to expand on those dangers. I’m here to talk about how, as a content creator, I saw an opportunity to write a joke, and create a video, and the lessons I learned from the experience. Here’s the joke.

It feels like everywhere you go in Trinidad you're surrounded by people who have no regard for other people. They're cussing, littering, smoking weed in public. Weed smokers are the worst. They have no regard for secondhand smoke and children. You'd almost think it was legal to smoke weed in public. Recently I went to Caura River with my family. As soon as you come out of the car all you could smell is weed, and curry. There's a part of you that isn't sure if to stay or leave, but you tell yourself you're a law-abiding citizen and you deserve to be there, so you stay. You tell your children to "man up" and you tell your wife to "man up and focus on how the curry smelling."

The following week we went to Clifton Hill Beach in Point Fortin. As soon as you come out the car all you could smell is weed... and KFC. There were teenagers smoking weed; I saw a pregnant woman smoking weed; a man was on the beach flying his kite and smoking weed. Should I leave or should I go? Nah, man, I have a right to be here. So, I sat in the midst of all the cussing and marijuana smoke, and contemplated the future of Trinidad. Then we got up, and I started staggering towards the water with my daughters. Pointed at the sky and said, "Hear this nah, man, I high, you know, like that f'in kite." And the four-year-old looked at me in disbelief and said, "Me too, Daddy."

If you read the joke and watched the video you’ll realise that key parts are missing from the video. And because of subsequent edits parts of the original joke are missing.

Buckle up. I’m going to attempt to take you to a place where a lot of things don’t make sense. Inside my head. The joke is really about how people show little regard for others. Whether they’re a drinker, smoker, marijuana user, or swear willy-nilly in public. In the end, the father curses in front of the child. This is key. The father isn’t smoking marijuana in public but when he curses, he shows no regard to others and his children.

In the interest of keeping the video under one minute, I omitted important lines. Therefore the joke lacked context. In the video, I didn’t say some marijuana smokers. I said marijuana smokers are the worst. It was a blanket attack on “all” marijuana smokers instead of smokers who disregard the law.

Context is key. Without providing context a segment of the audience (particularly on TikTok) misinterpreted and responded negatively. It’s important to frame your content to avoid misunderstandings. Hopefully, I’ve learned.

Understand your audience. As weird as this sounds, different platforms attract different audiences. My YouTube subscribers know and understand me. Tik Tok is the Wild West. Don’t expect your content to have the same impact everywhere.

Consider the consequences. Before you hit publish, consider the consequences. In the same breath don’t let negative comments dissuade you. Learn. Adjust, if required. Publish. Repeat.

The first police force in Trinidad

The first police force in Trinidad was established by Sir Thomas Picton, the first British governor of Trinidad. Back in 1797, the population was 18,000, mainly French republicans who didn’t like the British. The police force had a police chief and 8 officers. Picton built gallows in front of the government house and hanged people left, right and centre. Famous for his cruelty he even hanged a 12-year-old child named Luisa Calderon from a roof. He hanged her by her hand to confess to theft, and the English were like:

“Jolly great job, Picton. We’ll name a street in Port of Spain after you.”

It’s 2024. The population is 1.5 million and the police service has 6,500 officers.

My first book is a crime story based in Trinidad and Tobago. Order it here:

How to calculate property tax

Property tax is coming.
When I told my wife the news, she said, “At least someone’s coming.”

Let’s talk about how property tax is calculated and what you can do if you object to the government’s valuation.

Firstly, the property tax you pay is based on a percentage of the annual rental value of your property. We’ll get to the calculations for residential and commercial properties in a bit. Let’s talk about how the annual rental value is established.

All properties in Trinidad and Tobago have a rental value. That value is a calculation of the rent the property will attract if you decided to rent out the property.

Who calculates this rental value?

According to the OPM’s website, “The qualified professionals at the Valuation Division of the Ministry of Finance”. Hopefully, these qualified professionals are not Customs Officers. If that’s the case, we ass dark.

On a serious note, I really hope these qualified professionals aren’t Customs Officers.

The rental value is calculated on the location of your property, classification, dimensions, modifications and the category of the property, whether it’s agricultural, commercial, residential or industrial.

Let’s talk about how to calculate your property tax.

Earlier we established that the tax on your residential property is a percentage of your property’s Annual Rental Value.

So let’s say you receive a valuation that says your monthly rental value is estimated at $3,000. That means your annual rental value is $36,000.

To calculate your property tax here’s a formula straight from the horse’s mouth.

“the Property Tax Act makes it clear property tax is only three per cent of the annual rental value for residential properties, after first deducting ten per cent from the annual rental value.

So if you receive a rental valuation of $36,000, relax; that isn’t the amount of property tax you have to pay. To calculate your property tax, multiply $36,000 * 90% * 30% and you’ll get $972. I failed maths twice but my wife assured me that 90 percent on a calculator can be written as .90 and 3 percent can be written as .03. The formula looks like this:

36,000 * .90 * .03 which is equal to $972.

Please note that this $972 is the amount you will pay for the year. This is not a monthly figure. I repeat this is not a monthly figure.

Let’s talk about commercial property tax. The one the big boys in Trinidad don’t have to worry about just yet. Talk about the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer, eh? Commercial Property Tax is 5%. So let’s assume you rent property to the government for $575,000 a month here’s how you’ll calculate your rent. To get the annual rental valuation you’d multiply 575,000 by 12. The total is $6,900,000. Remember, you can deduct 10 percent from that figure; so your formula for property tax is

6,900,000 * .90 * .05 which is equal to $310,500.

At the time of writing it isn’t exactly clear if government will collect commercial property tax. If they aren’t collecting tax on commercial properties, that’s a stroke of luck for the big boys.

You’re probably wondering what happens if the valuation is too high or too low.
Let’s say you live in West Moorings, Lange Park or Palmiste and your annual rental valuation comes in at $36,000. If the value is too high or too low, you can object. In accordance with other grounds outlined in section 19 of the Valuation of Land Act, you can object.

A couple of things to note about objections.

You must object within 30 days of receiving your valuation. The office of the commissioner of valuations within 12 months. So if you submit your objection the same day you get pregnant your child should be 3 months old by the time you get a response.

You can submit your objections online at Given the government’s track record with software, my guess is the online process would be just as frustrating as the salary relief program. remember the salary relief program during COVID-19?

Oh. One last thing. Objection doesn’t exclude you from paying property tax. It’s kind of how being a member of parliament doesn’t exclude you from renting buildings to the government.

Maybe that’s a bad example.

It’s kind of like when you say the child is not yours but you have to pay child support until the test results come back.

It’s kind of like how a song could be the anthem but that doesn’t exclude you from singing it over.

We’re all just singing along, whether we like the tune or not.

What’s your take on property tax? Let us know in the comments

The Redwall Report: Friday, 14 October, 2022

Vision 2020 was not a PNM thing

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh says that one of the key hurdles in achieving long-term national development is the lack of consistency between programmes during different political administrations.

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Police Complaints Authority to investigate shooting

TWO bullets to the chest and abdomen ended the life of ex-soldier Jamie Walker on October 7, outside We Supermarket, Cocoyea Village, San Fernando.

Trinidad and Tobago Newsday