Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 12th 2016 Contents A6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, January 12, 2016
on $12bn in
Finance Minister Colm Imbert must come
straight and tell the country whether the Gov-
ernment collected an expected $12 billion in rev-
enue that would have wiped out the $8.8 billion
overdraft and facilitated the release of funds from
the Central Bank or whether they postponed it
for the March budget review.
"If they did not collect the money or postponed
it for the March budget review, he must come
straight and tell us so," says Caroni Central MP and
former planning minister, Dr Bhoendradatt Tewarie.
Tewarie made the call during his contribution to
the debate on the Finance Bill 2016 in the Lower
House yesterday. According to him that $12 billion
was waiting to be collected and "no amount of dis-
colouring of the facts" was going to change that
reality. He said he knew that Imbert, shortly after
the PNM won the September 7 general election,
went to meet former finance minister Larry Howai.
"He indicated the overdraft had been run over
and also indicated how it would be wiped out.
"He said he expected $4 billion from the Trinidad
Generating Unit. In subsequent discussions, he indi-
cated the money was not collected," he added.
Continuing to show how the Government would
have come up with the $12 billion in revenues,
Tewarie said the IPO for Phoenix Park would have
generated $1.5 billion and taxes due for collection
at the end of the fiscal year would have amounted
to $6 billion.
He said the different streams of revenue would
have totalled $12 billion, of which $8.8 billion would
have wiped out the overdraft at Central Bank and
allowed the release of cash from the Green Fund
and the Unemployment Levy.
Predicting the new changes in Value Added Tax
(VAT) presented by the Government would have a
terrible impact on low income households, Tewarie
said the Government somewhat disrespected Par-
liament and the nation by not presenting the list
of items that would be affected.
Those wishing to know would have to go online
to find out, he said. The Government s taxation
measures would have "a terrible impact on families
stretching to survive in these lean economic times"
and put a "lot of pressure" on small businesses,
"It is the citizens, at the end of the day, who are
going to be impacted," he added.
The Government seemed to be "giving with one
hand and taking away with the other," he said, refer-
ring to incentives to people 60 and over.
Tewarie dismissed the Finance Bill, saying it lacked
purpose. He said the thing that hit him most was
that Imbert himself seemed unconvinced about the
value the Government s measures would bring to
"You have come today to take taxes from con-
sumers and businesses and are saying this is an
additional source of revenue. Basically, that is what
is driving the operational principles of the Govern-
ment," he added.
Aside from that, the country remained clueless
about the Government s plans to grow the economy,
he said. "There is not a single person in T&T who
has a clue about where this Government is taking
the country," he added. He said the last People s
Partnership administration, of which he was a part,
had a comprehensive economic diversification plan
which included the creation of green, blue and silver
economies to generate income outside oil and gas.
After being sentenced to three years
in jail for armed robbery, twin brothers
Roston and Russel Thomas tried to
make a dash for freedom from the San
Fernando Fourth Magistrates Court
Roston, who was already being placed
in handcuffs was subdued by Court
and Process Officers but Russel man-
aged to escape.
The brothers, both 27, were before
Magistrate Margaret Alert in the San
Fernando Magistrates Court around
1.15 pm yesterday.
They were charged with armed rob-
bery in 2012. They were found guilty
of robbing Patrick Whiteman, 63, of
Dumfries Road, Bamboo Village, La
Romaine, of a gold chain and a gold
Both men gave their address as 22
Nicholas Ville, San Juan.
Constable Burnette and Khan were
in court at the time of the incident.
The T&T Guardian understands the
men began pleading for a lesser sen-
tence as soon as Alert gave her ruling.
She told them her decision was final
and Burnette moved to place handcuffs
on the men who had been on bail at
But Roston began resisting and strug-
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gling. Russel took the time afforded by his brother s
antics to leap over a bench and run straight out of
He ran down a flight of stairs and past unsuspecting
MTS security officers, hitting the streets.
Roston was taken for holding in the prisoner s
docks beneath the court.
Up to late yesterday, Senior Superintendent Irwin
Hackshaw said there was no update on Russel s
whereabouts as police continued their search.
Prisoner escapes after
Senior police officers stand outside the San Fernando Magistrates' Court following yesterday's escape of a prisoner. From left are ASP
Sharon Cooper, Inspector Voster Yearwood, ASP Yussef Gafar and Senior Supt, South, Irwin Hackshaw. PHOTO: RISHI RAGOONATH
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