Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 21st 2017 Contents GEISHA ALONZO
Casino workers were literally
brought to tears yesterday upon
learning that discussions be-
tween the T&T Members Club
Association (TTMCA) and the Fi-
nance Ministry were futile.
Veronica Forde, executive
members representing the Ca-
sino Workers Union said many
workers were unsure of where
their next meal would come
from or where they would get
money to pay their rent.
The union was not part of the
meeting but were present after
it ended following talks with
Minister in the Ministry of Fi-
nance Allyson West. The meet-
ing lasted for about an hour and
Forde said the union did not
attend the meeting because rep-
resentatives received late corre-
The association's president
Sherry Persad who described
yesterday's outcome as "dis-
heartening" added, "The minis-
ter could not give us any hope or
any guarantee of anything.
"I felt like we were just going
through motions and just being
heard. We were looking at blank
faces, no expression and the
union is now asking me what is
going to become of their jobs."
Persad said during the meet-
ing the association reiterated
the detriment facing the gam-
ing industry following the an-
nouncement of the 100 percent
increase in taxes.
"She (West) said she took note
of our concerns however, she
could not give us any guaran-
tee regarding moving forward.
We have clubs that were closed
"The minister indicated that
this is only ten percent of taxes
to be collected. The rest is un-
collected so because of the lack
of enforcement this industry is
going to taxed by 100 percent
which we think is very vindic-
tive," Persad said.
She said the association of-
fered to put forward initiatives
to the ministry to improve col-
lection, including proper leg-
islation which Persad said the
association has been lobbying
for the past 12 years.
"We were hoping there would
be legislation in place before
any increase in taxes," Persad
She said the association be-
lieved they were being deliber-
Calling for an immediate
meeting with Finance Minister
Colm Imbert Persad said, "All
the staff is here and they are ask-
ing us what is going to become
of their jobs and what could we
"We can't tell them anything
positive," Persad said, adding
that the gambling industry was
a service industry which was
heavily dependent on dispos-
"People are losing jobs all over
and how could you not make
time and hear us," Persad said.
An emotional Forde said many
workers had already lost their
jobs, saying she has been receiv-
ing numerous calls of concern
from crying employees.
"People are concerned how
they are going to mind their
children. This is not right and
we want to know where do we
go from here.
"We had hoped that some-
thing would have come out
from this where we could have a
peaceful night sleep...right now
we are not sleeping because we
don't know what will happen to
"Where I work there are about
ten pregnant women and they
are asking me what is going to
happen to next. How do we
deal with this? Aren't we peo-
ple to? Don't we deserve the
same rights as everybody else?,"
Saturday, October 21, 2017
UMCLW: Members did not refuse to attend talks
The Union of Members Clubs and
Lottery Workers (UMCLW) has
categorically rejected an assertion
by the Ministry of Finance that the
union refused to attend a meeting
which took place yesterday.
A press release from the union
said it was invited via email at 3.37
pm on Thursday for a meeting at
1.30pm yesterday but at that time
the of ices were already closed.
"The union, however, did check
email at 9 pm. However, due short
notice of the meeting and to the
inclement weather the key of ice
holders of the union were unable
to attend the meeting at the Minis-
try of Finance.
"The union did respond indi-
cating that it was grateful for the
meeting and was willing to meet
with the minister next week at the
earliest possible time," the release
It said union of ice holders did
not want to meet with a Minister
in the Ministry of Finance adding,
"It is the union's opinion that it is
the substantial Minister of Finance
Colm Imbert who makes the deci-
sion and we do not have any con-
idence that Minister Allyson West
can influence meaningful change
of the taxation measures in the
budget and how it will lead to mas-
sive job losses."
And following the protest out-
side the home of Finance Minis-
ter Colm Imbert on Wednesday
of icials of the ministry contacted
of icials of the Union of Members
Clubs and Lottery Workers, repre-
sentatives of casino workers, and
invited them to a meeting sched-
uled for yesterday.
But the union said it rejected
allegations that its members
protested outside the minister's
home, saying the protest was car-
ried out by casino workers who
are constituents of Imbert and
who had tried to meet with him
at his constituency of ice but were
instead met with a with closed
Casino workers in tears
after ministry's meeting
President of the T&T Members Club, Sherry Persad with Casino workers stand outside the Ministry of Finance durng meeting bewteen the T&T Members
Club Association and the Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West, yesterday.
PICTURE SHIRLEY BAHADUR
The association's attorney Christlyn
Moore who also spoke said
figures presented by Imbert were
inaccurate said, "The minister is
prepared to collect the 90 percent
tax outstanding from the ten
percent that is compliant.
'That cannot be accurate
Government policy. The thing to do
is improve compliance."
She said West said there was a plan
to improve compliance when in fact
there was no plan to do so.
"It seems the plan the ministry has
designed to increase compliance
is to increase tax on compliant
members," Moore said.
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