Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 13th 2016 Contents A9
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
The Hotels, Restaurants and Tourism
Association is concerned that the hos-
pitality industry may experience a back-
lash from government's decision to rein-
troduce Value Added Tax (VAT) on
certain food and luxury items.
However, they hope it will not impact
operations greatly at locally-run hotels
The latest fiscal control measure
announced by Finance Minister Colm
Imbert on Monday in Parliament during
a debate on the Finance Bill will see con-
sumers paying more for basic food items.
Among those items that will now cost
more are cereals, milk, cooking oils, bis-
cuits, mauby, pasta, butter, ketchup,
yogurt, fruit juice, soft-drinks, cocoa and
chocolate powder, prepared meats, pep-
per, coconut milk, tea, coffee, tuna, her-
ring, mayonnaise and sausages.
Also included on the list are certain
types of flour, rice, cheese and sugar.
During a telephone interview yesterday,
the association's chief executive officer
Brian Frontin indicated that his organ-
isation had begun liaising with its mem-
bers since the budget was presented in
Revealing that they had only yesterday
circulated a list of the standard and zero
rated items to their members which they
received from the Ministry of Finance,
Frontin said it would take some time for
respective businesses to calculate how
their price line would be affected.
He added: "The purchasing and finance
departments of all members will have to
review the list against their current inven-
tory and stock purchasing and determine
if and how they have to make adjust-
He explained that there were three
types of adjustments which needed to
be made, including items which had to
be marked down from 15 per cent to 12.5
per cent; zero rated items which had to
be marked up 12.5 per cent and items
from 15 per cent to zero.
Frontin admitted that it would take
time to "check the impact of these
changes," especially those companies
which were not fully computerised.
Adding that branded hotels, such as
the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Cen-
tre, Hyatt Regency and Marriott had cer-
tain standards unique to them to main-
tain, Frontin said he expected that the
addition of VAT would affect their food
and beverage divisions.
He said within the next couple weeks
they would be seeking to obtain feedback
from members as they implemented the
Meanwhile, with the Business Levy
and revised income tax expected to take
effect later this month, Frontin said they
would be paying special attention to the
increased operational costs of members.
However, he said the latest trends
revealed that local hotels were now enjoy-
ing high occupancy rates with Carnival
just weeks away.
Hotels fear backlash
from new VAT plan
Question: What food
items will you leave out
of your basket in light
of VAT increases?
"I will leave out rice and
milk for sure as I don't use
calcium but anything else I
have to decide when I see
"I will have to cut back on
some things but I haven't
thought about it yet. Most
likely, when I see the prices I
"I would leave out the tin
foods and maybe I could
do without the coffee. But
if my funds low, I might
have to leave out a lot
"I will be cutting back to
some extent but I think
instead of leaving out items
altogether, I will just have to
buy in moderation from now
For using a "toy" gun to rob a pen-
sioner of her Ford Ranger in 2014, Sasfi
Lalwah was sentenced to a total of five
years in jail yesterday.
Lalwah, who had previously pleaded
guilty to the charge of robbery with aggra-
vation and using an imitation gun, was
jailed by Magistrate Siumongal Ramsaran
in the San Fernando Magistrates' Court.
Lalwah was jointly charged with Collin
Henry, who will appear in court again on
Court prosecutor Sgt Dianath Harricha-
ran read the facts of the case. He said
around 3.30 pm on February, 2, 2014, the
victim, a 62-year-old woman, was in her
yard at Union Hall, San Fernando.
She was approached by Lalwah, who
pointed a gun at her, which later turned
out to be an imitation gun. Lalwah said it
was a hold-up, robbed the woman of her
silver Ford Ranger and drove away.
Later that day, the vehicle was inter-
cepted in Chaguanas by police and Lalwah
was found driving it. The imitation gun
was in the vehicle as well.
Lalwah was arrested and taken to the
San Fernando Police Station and inter-
viewed by WPC Apesha Valdez.
When told about the charge of robbery
with aggravation, Lalwah replied: "Officer,
I really take the vehicle. I was supposed
to get $2,500 to drop it Laventille Road."
When he was showed the imitation gun,
he replied: "Yes officer, that is what I had."
The vehicle was returned to its owner.
In court yesterday, Lalwah begged for
a chance to pay a fine instead of being
sent to jail.
He said he had an eight-year-old daugh-
ter whom he had not seen since his arrest
In turn, Ramsaran told him he should
think of the trauma his victim had suffered
from having a gun pointed at her and then
having Lalwah take her vehicle.
He asked Lalwah why he would have
taken the woman's vehicle, worth $110,000,
to sell it for $2,500.
Lalwah said he sold watches on the
streets and January 2014 had been a very
slow month for him. He said he did not
know what came over him. But after seeing
Lalwah's criminal record, Ramsaran told
him he was a career criminal.
Ramsaran sentenced him to three years
hard labour for the robbery. On the firearm
charge, he was sentenced to two years.
The sentences are to run concurrently.
'Toy' gun bandit jailed
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