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The Board of Inland Revenue
which is key to making a dent in
corruption has been described as
a "sleeping giant" and was
ordered to "rise from its slum-
Making the call was President
Anthony Carmona while speaking
at the opening ceremony of the
Integrity Commission s regional
conference of the Commonwealth
Caribbean Association of Integrity
Commissions and Anti-Corruption
Bodies, themed "The role of the
integrity commissions and anti-
corruption bodies in transforming
the Commonwealth Caribbean,"
held at the Hyatt Regency, Port-
The conference is expected to
end on Friday.
Carmona said as much as the
law continued to evolve, there were
already laws which were imple-
mentable but were not being
implemented throughout the
region including the Proceeds of
Crime Act, money laundering leg-
islation and the Prevention of Cor-
"The one with the fatal sting in
its scorpion tail is the Prevention
of Corruption Act, a piece of leg-
islation that I had input in. It was
considered draconian and it is, yet
it is indeed a rare moment when
this particular piece of legislation
"What about the scorpion itself,
the Board of Inland Revenue. Dur-
ing my some 30 years as a state
prosecutor and then as a deputy
director of public prosecutions and
finally as a criminal judge, I have
pronounced on the potential effec-
tive utility of the Board of Inland
Revenue in T&T and correspond-
ingly in the Caribbean region. I
can recall that whenever I men-
tioned it at workshops and con-
ferences, the room would go silent
and officials in authority would
look at me with a jaundiced eye,"
He said society had become a
place where the goodwill of people
could no longer be depended upon,
adding that there have been alle-
gations of profligate enrichment
by those in authority.
"There have been complaints
and observations for just as many
years that the asset base of politi-
cians is inconsistent with their
income and tax returns and there
has been a hue and cry for the
intervention of the Integrity Com-
mission or the Fraud Squad.
"Why are we taking such a
divergent route when we can wake
up that sleeping giant called the
Board of Inland Revenue? Rise
from your slumber," Carmona said.
The issue of confidentiality was
also brought to the fore as the
President said people who fell
under the ambit of the integrity
commissions had expressed great
apprehension that highly personal
information, mainly of a financial
nature, was not absolutely secure.
"I therefore submit that this
issue of confidentiality touches a
raw nerve and needs to be treated
more stringently and with greater
"There has to be a modernisa-
tion of the process of handling
confidential data by the integrity
commissions of the region with
watertight safeguards, and it
invariably will impact on the will-
ingness of persons to serve as com-
missioners and will ease the minds
of those who are required to report
to the various integrity commis-
sions in the regions," Carmona
He also urged that in order to
ensure the integrity of the very
integrity commissions throughout
the Caribbean, confidentiality must
be the bedrock, especially given
how society throughout the
Caribbean was so interconnected.
Chairman of T&T s Integrity
Commission, retired justice Zainool
Hosein who delivered the welcome
remarks, said through the confer-
ence it was hoped that anti-cor-
ruption measures would be
brought in line with international
He said the conference was the
first of its kind in T&T and offered
an opportunity to take a renewed
look at how the respective systems
were working to cope with the
present needs and what their likely
response would be in the future.
"It is our hope that appropriate
changes, where necessary, will be
made," Hosein said.
Chair of the Commonwealth
Caribbean Association of Integrity
Commissions and Anti-Corruption
Bodies, retired justice Dame Mon-
ica Joseph, also emphasised the
need to root out corruption.
She said while there have been
and would continue to be chal-
lenges both in and out of court,
all parties must work together for
one common good.
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, March 1, 2016
The public is hereby
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e to the
Carmona knocks inactive BIR
Money Mania jackpot $2,500
Water and electricity rates are expected to
increase for commercial and industrial customers.
This is as the new chairman and members of
the Regulated Industries Commission (RIC) met
with Public Utilities Minister Ancil Antoine at his
St Clair office yesterday.
The new chairman is Dr Hyacinth Guy, a former
chairman of the Teaching Service Commission.
Other commissioners are Shalini Campbell, Clayton
Blackman, Dr Arielle John and Vinodatt Lutchman.
Antoine told reporters after the meeting with the
board that the existing rates at both the Water and
Sewerage Authority (WASA) and Trinidad and Toba-
go Electricity Commission (T&TEC) will be reviewed
by the new RIC commissioners, who, in turn would
submit the new rates to the Government.
"Yes, you could expect some changes given the
present economic situation. Government will have
to review its entire policy of subsidies and look for
a way forward," Antoine said.
He said it may be economically sensible but not
politically expedient at this point in time to increase
Antoine said WASA had a loan from the Inter-
American Development Bank "that requires an
increase in the tariffs. That is something that has
to be looked into by the commission before any
decision is made."
He noted that both electricity and water rates in
T&T were very low. He added that the Government
already had social programmes in place to help the
pensioners and other less fortunate with their elec-
tricity and water rates.
"If it is that we have to subsidise the less fortunate,
I don t see anybody in the industrial and commercial
sectors being less fortunate. If the residents have
to benefit and the corporate or industrial sector
have to carry the weight a little bit, that is how
He said WASA will have to look at the imple-
mentation of a system of metering for residential
and commercial customers.
Guy said the minister expressed certain concerns
to the commissioners and the RIC will seek to
address them when it meets for the first time shortly.
She did not elaborate. The commissioners were
appointed last week Wednesday.
The RIC is responsible for ensuring fairness,
transparency and equity in the provision of utility
services in the country.
President Anthony Carmona, left, looks on as 2015 Integrity
Commission Do Right competition winner Aeda Bagaloo of Naparima
Girls' recites her poem during yesterday's Commonwealth Caribbean
Association of Integrity Commissions and Anti-Corruption Bodies
conference at Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain. PHOTO: NICOLE DRAYTON
Water and electricity
rate hike on the cards
Maharaj said to lure
investors to the
Caribbean it was critical
Corruption could not
be tolerated in any
form, Maharaj said, and
this was especially so in
small states as every
dollar lost to corruption
was a dollar lost to
health care or
"The beauty of the
region masks the fact
that it was one of most
regions on this planet,"
'Rise from your slumber'
...for commercial and industrial customers
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