'FATCA' drags on; Opposition demands more time, Government accedes

The country must wait another week to know the fate of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) legislation as the Government acceded to the Opposition's request for more time for the Joint Select Committee (JSC) to deliberate.

The Opposition told the Parliament that report of the JSC could only be considered as an interim report as it claimed there were many whose opinions were not yet considered.

Opposition MPs Dr Roodal Moonilal and Dr Tim Gopeesingh said the JSC's work was rushed by members of the Government who were on the committee.

House unanimously agrees to validate THA elections

The House of Representatives has passed legislation to validate the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) elections.

The bill was passed by a vote of 37 for, none against and no abstentions.

It received the support of the Opposition, which criticised the government, and in particular the prime minister and the attorney general, for what they described as the embarrassment of setting the THA election date and then seeking validation.

According to law, there must be 21 days from nomination day to polling day. However, only 20 days were set.

Imbert's "Come Outside" dare turns into "Come Inside" appeal

Finance Minister Colm Imbert has flipped the script from his famous dare to the Opposition in March 2015 to "Come Outside", to a call today for them to "Come Inside" as Opposition members stayed away from the House during debate on the controversial FATCA Bill.

"I appeal to them again, as I appealed in the past. I appeal to the Opposition members again, 'Come downstairs. Come Inside. Come Inside, Why are you outside?" Imbert said today while winding up debate on the legislation.


Business organisations disappointed in FATCA failure

Several business agencies have put together a joint statement expressing disappointment in the Parliament's failure to pass FATCA legislation today.

The following is their statement: 

"AMCHAM T&T, ATTIC, BATT, The Energy Chamber, TTCIC, TTCSI and the TTMA are deeply disappointed by the developments in Parliament earlier today and the failure of Parliament to debate and pass the Tax Information Exchange Bill.  

We urge all Parliamentarians to put the best interest of the country first and not risk our future financial stability.

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

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.

PM mum on who's protecting him

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley is not saying whether his security team at present consists of officers of the Police Special Branch or members of the Defence Force.

The matter was raised by the Opposition in the House of Representatives, during the part of the proceedings that allow for questions to the Prime Minister.

However, Dr Rowley told the House that as a public official who is exposed to the elements and is being afforded protection of state agencies, he is "not prepared to discuss any security afforded to me or any citizen afforded security by the State".