Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 24th 2014 Contents A12
Sunday Guardian www.guardian.co.tt August 24, 2014
Chairman of the Tertiary Student
Union (TSU) Jean-Luke Atwell yes-
terday appealed to tertiary-level stu-
dents to join them in a three-day vigil
against the Constitution (Amendment)
Bill at the International Waterfront
Centre, Port-of-Spain. The vigil begins
at 6 pm today and ends on Tuesday
when debate on the controversial bill
gets under way in the Senate.
Speaking at a press conference at the
St Augustine campus of the University
of the West Indies (UWI), Atwell said
the TSU does not support the bill which
was passed in the House of Represen-
tatives on August 12.
"We urge all tertiary students to come
out and support us."
Atwell said there are ten students
guilds with a population of approxi-
mately 50,000 students. So far, the
TSC has the backing of three guilds---
UWI, Cipriani College of Labour and
Co-operative Studies and T&T Hos-
pitality and Tourism Institute.
TSC is also lobbying for other guilds,
such as the Hugh Wooding Law School,
University of T&T, School of Business
and Computer Science and Costaatt,
to rally behind them.
TSU s director Stephen Mathison
said following a meeting with repre-
sentatives of the students guilds, deep
concerns were expressed over the runoff
section of the bill.
"If a bill like this is allowed to pass
then anything else could happen in the
future. They could tamper with Gate
and other matters than may affect uni-
versity students. It s time we take a
stand on things that affect the nation
in particular. We have to let politicians
know that they cannot continue to
erode our democracy," Mathison said.
"If people don t wake up soon they
could find other dangerous pieces of
legislations being put before the Par-
liament to be passed with a simple
majority and that could be the begin-
ning of the end for this country."
CHARLES KONG SOO
Republic Bank Limited has extended
the deadline for private members clubs
to close their accounts at the bank to
August 31. The original deadline had
been the end of June.
Sherry Persad, president of the T&T
Private Members Club Association, said
the group had sought the intervention
of Minister of Finance Larry Howai but
are still awaiting a response.
"People s jobs are definitely in jeop-
ardy and there is a concern about the
future of the industry. This is going to
hamper operations and if we re left in
a position where we cannot function,
obviously private members club owners
will be forced to retrench employees
and downsize in a bid to survive," she
"Nobody wants to operate a cash
business and the situation will make
establishments and members targets
Persad said patrons of private mem-
bers clubs will attract additional,
unwanted attention from criminal ele-
ments if their winnings are paid out in
cash, which is what will happen if the
clubs are unable to have bank accounts.
At present the private members clubs
A private members club owner, who
in vigil against
spoke anonymously, said Republic
Bank s decision to close these
accounts will create a crisis for the
industry because it will be cum-
bersome and impractical to operate
business on a cash-only basis.
He said if other commercial
banks followed Republic Bank s
lead and started closing off the
accounts of private members clubs,
thousands of people could end up
on the breadline.
While he admitted that the reg-
ulations of the Finance Intelligence
Unit (FIU) related to private mem-
bers clubs were extensive and
time-consuming, the businessman
said the FIU is already doing a very
good job in monitoring clubs. He
said the Government should step
in and rationalise the situation.
Still waiting on bankers
Legal representative for the T&T
Private Members Club Association,
Christlyn Moore, said the group
met with a representative of the
Finance Ministry, the Bankers
Association of T&T (BATT) and
other stakeholders in July and
made proposals for self regulation
guidelines. However, with the
deadline for closing their accounts
fast approaching, they are still
awaiting word from financial and
Moore said attempts will be
made to contact the Ministry of
Finance and BATT to press for
action on the matter.
Earlier this year, Howai said that
in keeping with Anti-Money Laun-
dering/ Counter Terrorist Financ-
ing requirements (AML/CTF), the
Government is working to establish
a framework to deal with private
members clubs and regulate the
gambling and gaming industry.
Howai said there were plans for
a comprehensive legislative frame-
work to promote responsible gam-
bling and protect the vulnerable.
The ministry had established a
working group comprising repre-
sentatives from the Ministry of
Finance, Ministry of Trade and
Investment, Ministry of National
Security, Ministry of the People
and Social Development and the
Office of the Attorney General to
consider draft legislation.
A civil society group had also
been established with representa-
tives from the Institute of Char-
tered Accountants, the Law Asso-
ciation and the banking sector.
Bank deadline looms for
private members clubs
Finance Minister Larry Howai
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