The Property Tax Bill, which had been criticised as “unconstitutional” by the Opposition, was passed by a margin of 22 to 10 and with no abstentions after the Leader of Government Business Colm Imbert took the unusual step of calling for a division for the vote, notwithstanding the fact that the Government has insisted the legislation required a simple majority. Rowley, who was on record as being critical of the provisions of the legislation was not present in the Parliament chamber when the vote was taken at 8.50 pm. Also absent from the chamber was Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar who, hours earlier had called for an amendment to the law.
The Valuation of Land (Amendment) Bill, which introduces provisions in support of the new legislative framework, was, in contrast, passed with a simple majority vote; no division taken. Both bills had been debated together over the course of marathon sittings of the House of Representatives which began last Friday. There were several amendments to the legislation at committee stage, including one which expanded the category of exempt persons for the tax to not only include lands used as Christian churches, but also the places of worship of other religious denominations as well.