Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 22nd 2016 Contents SHALIZA HASSANALI
The Government has
been bending over back-
wards to get the Oppo-
sition to support the
Foreign Account Tax
While the Opposition
recently refused to vote
on the Bill unless Gov-
ernment agrees to estab-
lish a Joint Select Com-
mittee (JSC), Prime
Minister Dr Keith Rowley
sounded a warning that
whether the Government
got support or not on the
Bill, a day of reckoning
Rowley was speaking
at a People s National
Movement public meet-
ing, which was attended
by Attorney General Faris
Al-Rawi and Finance
Minister Colm Imbert at
the Mt D Or Community
Centre, Champ Fleurs,
T&T was given until
September 30 by the US
to come in line with
In giving the latest
details on FATCA, Al-
Rawi said of September
20 "the Treasury Depart-
ment of the US had told
the T&T Government
"nothing with respect to
our request for an exten-
sion of time."
If we failed to comply
with FATCA, Imbert said
the United States revenue
authority would deduct
30 per cent from every
payment made to an
entity in the US.
Imbert said under
FATCA, all the corre-
spondence banks in the
US would stop doing
business with T&T.
He said T&T could
end up like Belize which
was deemed uncompliant
and could no longer
engage in transactions
with companies and
individuals in the US.
Imbert produced two
Cabinet minutes which
confirmed that the then
People s Partnership gov-
ernment agreed in 2013
that T&T would "adopt
the model one option of
agreement with the US"
which enabled compli-
ance with the require-
ments of FATCA.
Even though the
agreement was initialled
by then finance minister
Larry Howai, Imbert said
it was not signed.
Weighing in on the
issue, Rowley said if the
Opposition refused to
vote on the Bill T&T
would be faced with a
calamity and grave con-
sequences, which Oppo-
sition Leader Kamla Per-
sad-Bissessar was aware
of.He said the UNC was
putting a gun to the head
"Our country is not in
a position to bargain with
the US. We have no
option. We will do every-
thing possible to get
them (Opposition) to do
what has to be done," he
Rowley said if the JSC
could meet on Parliament
"they will meet" to facil-
itate the UNC with the
hopes of getting its vote.
"So as of now the
deadline may not be
attainable. So we are at
the mercy of the United
States to do with us as
they will... like Belize...
or they may listen to us
an give us an extension
which we have no control
over. And an extension is
what fear the UNC had
"This will wreck our
economy and destroy our
country. They believe by
not voting for it nothing
will happen. I want to
put them on notice
tonight whether you vote
for it or you don t vote
for it a day of reckoning
will come," he added.
Rowley said the Oppo-
sition wanted to see the
B ill fail and if that had
happened, it would have
taken six months to come
back to Parliament for
The PM said the
Opposition was con-
cerned that the Govern-
ment was giving the US
information to help their
authorities find tax dol-
lars. SEE PAGE A8
Thursday, September 22, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
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Imbert on Las Alturas:
Why no action
Finance Minister Colm Imbert questioned
why the UNC never took legal action against
contractor China Jiangsu for shoddy workman-
ship on two apartment blocks at the Las Alturas
housing project in Morvant.
Instead, he said the UNC chose to cast blame
on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, Attorney
General Faris Al-Rawi and Udecott chairman
Noel Garcia for the construction of the $26 million
apartments, which had to be demolished because
of severe cracks on the buildings.
Imbert raised the issue on Tuesday during the
People s National Movement public meeting at
the Mt D Or Community Centre, Champ Fleurs,
describing the $40 million spent by the former
People s Partnership administration into the com-
mission of enquiry (CoE) into the housing project
as a waste of money.
Imbert gave a timeline on the project, stating
that when the two apartment blocks were built
in 2008 Rowley had already been removed from
then prime minister Patrick Manning s Cabinet,
while Garcia had left the Housing Development
Corporation (HDC) as managing director.
In December 2009, Imbert said under a new
managing director at the HDC, the two apartment
blocks were constructed by China Jiangsu, who
has been liable since 2012.
Imbert said the UNC waited for "the four-
year limitation period to run out without taking
action" against the contractor.
"The UNC choose not to go after the contractor.
It choose not to enforce its rights under the
design build contract," Imbert said.
Months before the 2015 general election, Imbert
said the UNC saw it fit to have a COE.
"Did anyone saw the findings of the enquiry?
You hear anybody point a finger at the contractor?
You hear any attempt to go after them? No!
Instead they want to call Dr Rowley, Al-Rawi
and Garcia s name.
"So they spent $40 million from 2014 to 2015
into 2016 enquiring into something that we
already had all the answers for. That is why there
is too much dishonesty in Trinidad and Tobago,"
Oropouche East MP Dr Roodal Moonilal, in
response to Imbert in a press release yesterday,
said the latest rant-and-blame game from the
Government did not alter the raw facts of a PNM
regime s direct responsibility for the housing
He described Imbert as the Government s latest
public defender, fault-finder and spin-doctor on
the project, which cost taxpayers $80 million.
He said Imbert while skewed the facts, pointed
fingers and uttered reckless and slanderous alle-
gations, he was unable to debunk the truth borne
out in the report of the COE and the timeline
of activities, which he had earlier presented.
"Of note, also, is that the Government had
until March 2016... six months after it came into
national office to initiate legal action on the mat-
Rowley on Opposition's stand on FATCA:
UNC putting gun to head of T&T
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley greets supporters on his arrival on Tuesday night
at the party's public meeting in Champ Fleurs. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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