Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 4th 2018 Contents news A3
Thursday, January 4, 2018
Judge: Walk with your own lunches
The country’s financial hardships
have now trickled down into the
criminal justice system with jurors
being advised to walk with their
This is unprecedented as the
State has always provided jurors
who are empanelled to sit in trials
in the various Supreme Courts in
San Fernando, Port-of-Spain and
Tobago, with lunch, as well as tea,
coffee and water.
A statement by Justice Carla
Brown-Antoine raised concern
among members of the legal pro-
fession when she suggested to a
nine-member jury and two alter-
nates empanelled in a drug pos-
session trial in the San Fernando
First Assizes that they walk with
their own lunch.
Speaking to the jury before
the State opened its case against
Lawrence Dyer, the judge said
the State would usually provide
lunches for them, but the caterers
who provide this service have re-
“In order to provide lunch, we
use vouchers, we don’t pay cash,”
She said caterers who provide
the meals would accept govern-
ment cheques and vouchers.
“But you know how long the
government takes to pay. The
numbers of persons who provide
that service has reduced signifi-
cantly over the last year,” she said,
adding that only one caterer is still
accepting the vouchers.
Browne-Antoine said, “Mem-
bers of the jury I suggest you
should walk with your own lunch.”
However, she said in the event
that the court sits after midday
and the jurors don’t have lunch,
lunch will be ordered for them.
“You should have water and tea
and so on. I hope that is provided
The T&T Guardian was told that
no lunch was ordered for the jury
yesterday because the matter was
not scheduled to continue after
Judiciary sources told the T&T
Guardian was told that the Judi-
ciary has been having serious fi-
nancial problems. There are six
criminal courts in Port-of-Spain,
four in San Fernando and one in
Tobago. A panel of either nine of
12 jurors, together with alternate
jurors, would sit in a trial which
could last for weeks or even
The T&T Guardian was told that
a meal for a juror could cost be-
tween $40 to $60.
The budgetary setback has also
affected the State’s ability to pay
for State witnesses living abroad
to be flown into the country to
testify in trials.
However, Alicia Carter-Fisher,
Court Protocol and Information
Manager, said the Judiciary was
not aware of meals not being pro-
vided for jurors.
Responding via email, she said,
“I am not aware of this and would,
therefore, need some time before
I can respond to you.”
An unfortunate situation—Elder
Pamela Elder SC, president
of the Criminal Bar Association,
called for the situation to be ur-
gently rectified. She said, “This is
the first time since I am practising
law I have heard of that.
If that is indeed so I really hope
the situation can be urgently rec-
tified and jurors are provided with
lunches because it is already a
great inconvenience for the jurors
to reach to court for 9 am. I trust
that this would not become a prec-
edent. It is rather unfortunate and
it should be addressed urgently.
Contacted for comment, Attor-
ney General Faris Al Rawi said it
was the first time he was hearing
of this matter and needed to get
details on this matter.
New taxes come on stream—West
Legislation approving an array of
new taxes announced in the last
Budget has been approved and
became effective in the New Year.
A statement from the Ministry
of Finance announced that 35 per
cent corporation tax on commer-
cial banks, $20 environmental tax
to help dispose of used tyres and
the imposition of taxes on hybrid
and CNG vehicles with engine
sizes above 1799 cc, went into ef-
fect from January 1.
However, the implementation
of the 10 per cent tax on lottery
winnings had not been finalised
says Minister in the Ministry of
Finance Allyson West.
She said measures are being
put in place for the imposition of
the property tax which had been
put on hold before the court.
In a release issued by the Minis-
try of Finance yesterday, it stated
that the taxes had been assented
to on December 19.
The environmental tax, West
said will focus on importers who
are charged $20 for each tyre
brought into the country.
“That will be collected by Cus-
toms and Excise upon entry. We
should see an immediate impact
on this tax. That should be an
easy one to ensure compliance
With respect to the 35 per
cent corporation tax imposed on
banks and other companies from
January 1, West said the Board of
Inland Revenue would not see an
impact until the end of March.
As to when the lottery winnings
tax will go effect, West said this
was still hanging in the balance.
This tax will only apply to win-
nings over $1,000.
“That has been deferred be-
cause there was recognition that
the NLCB had to put some sys-
tems in place for the collection of
that. The introduction of that has
been deferred. We have not final-
ised a deadline as yet,” West said.
In addition to these measures,
West said the ministry will be pur-
suing the property tax.
“We are waiting for the decision
of the court on the property tax
matter. In the meanwhile, we are
putting things in place so as soon
as the court matter is determined
we can move ahead to get this tax
implemented in 2018.”
West said these taxes will give
the Government the kind of rev-
enue it needs to get us safely
3 shot near
Three people were wounding
in a drive-by shooting near the
Tunapuna Market last night.
According to preliminary re-
ports, around 7 pm, three men
were standing along the Eastern
Main Road in front of the market
when a car pull alongside them.
One of the occupants of the
car fired several shots at the
men before the driver sped off.
One man was shot in his hand,
one in his leg and the other was
grazed near his mouth by a bul-
let. They were taken to the Eric
Williams Medical Sciences Com-
plex in Mt Hope where they
were receiving treatment, up to
The shooting took place a rel-
atively short distance from the
Tunapuna Police Station.
The suspects had not been
arrested by police up to press
Justice Carla Brown-Antoine
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