FATCA debate falls flat as Opposition walks out; will not be passed before September 30th deadline

Date: 
Friday, September 23, 2016 - 17:30

Debate on the FATCA legislation has fallen apart and will not be passed by the deadline of September 30th.

It now means that Trinidad and Tobago will not be in compliant with the Foreign Accounts Tax Compliance Act agreement with the United States, unless this county gets an extension from the US Government.

Leader of Government Business, Camille Robinson-Regis adjourned the sitting to 1.30 pm on Friday September 30th, after a walk-out by the Opposition.

The walk-out came after House Speaker Bridget Annisette-George ejected Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar during a loud outburst with San Fernando West MP Faris Al-Rawi who was at the time contributing to the debate.

Princes Town MP Barry Padarath was also ejected after he screamed "nonsense" following the Speaker's ruling.

This prompted the entire Opposition to leave the Parliament Chamber around 4.27 pm.

With the Government needing 26 votes to pass the crucial legislation, the Opposition walk-out offered no chance of the legislation being passed today, given that the Government only has 23 votes.

Robinson-Regis adjourned the House to 1.30 pm next Friday, saying that the Budget will be read at that time,

Failure to have the legislation passed in time without an extension, will result in US banks unable to do business with banks in T&T and will severely impact this country's financial sector.

Earlier, the Government had sought and got an adjournment of the House to allow the Opposition to peruse the changes it brought to the legislation.

However, on the resumption, Government Chief Whip Ganga Singh scolded the Government for not going the way of a Joint Select Committee, which he argued was agreed upon by both sides of the House.

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