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 This is an open letter to Minister Larry Howai, for whom I have the deepest respect. What exactly is happening at your Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) office in Port of Spain, Sir? For the past two months, my clerk has been trying to pay to the State at your BIR office the relevant duties on certain property transactions where I signed off as preparing the necessary documents.

Armed with all the necessary documentation and the fees, my clerk tells me public servants at the BIR office have been giving him a host of reasons why they cannot attend to him. It is either they are working up to 11 a.m. (in accordance with a directive from their union) or they can attend to only 15 clerks one day, or six another day.

And my clerk was further told if he or she is to be of the chosen 15 or six, he or she must arrive at the BIR office not later than 6 a.m. to get a number. 

What is this? At a public office? Is this how your ministry is collecting taxes for the State?

My clerk also tells me certain law firms both in south Trinidad and north Trinidad are not subject to those new rules from the public servants at the BIR offices both in north and south Trinidad. For what reason, I do not know.

When were these rules of discrimination introduced into the Public Service for the paying of stamp duty on property transactions? And is it there must be same demon­stration, some arrest, some burning of tyres, some blocking of traffic before this situation is remedied?

I do trust you will attend to this festering sore at your BIR offices urgently so that law-abiding citizens who wish to pay to the State any monies at those offices for any purpose can do so comfortably during the normal work hours.


Joseph Toney

attorney-at-law

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