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Correct BIR closure now

Law Association calls on Howai:

By Joel Julien joel.julien@trinidadexpress.com

THE Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) has called on Finance Minister Larry Howai to immediately rectify the “intolerable” situation currently taking place at the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) in Port of Spain where the cashier has been closed as a result of industrial action.

After almost a dozen deaths at BIR under “varying circumstances”, including cancer, blood clots and unknown cau­ses over the past few years, workers have been taking industrial action.

Apart from these deaths, several other BIR staff members have complained of suffe­ring from a range of illnesses pertaining to their im­mune system, including respiratory disorders and cysts.

Representing union Public Services Association (PSA) has said it will not put up with the “slummish” working conditions any more and slammed the response of the BIR chairman to the situation. 

As a result of the indus­tri­al action, BIR announced earlier this week there would be “no cashiering service in Port of Spain”.

Only cheque payments are being accepted at a drop-off box at Trinidad House, St Vincent Street.

This has been hampering the work of attorneys in Port of Spain, LATT said yesterday.

“After receiving numerous complaints from several attorneys about the closure of the Stamp Duty department in Port of Spain and the cashier at the Board of Inland Revenue, the Law Association of Trinidad and Tobago wishes to express its serious concern about this unacceptable and deleterious situation,” LATT stated.

“Legal documents (such as conveyances, mortgages, bills of sale, etc) are not being, and have not been, stamped for the last few days and therefore cannot be registered as requi­red by law so as to protect len­ders, banks, financial insti­tu­-

tions, purchasers and, indeed, the public, generally,” the release added.

LATT called on Howai to in­tervene to correct the situation.

“Whatever is the problem, the Government, in general, and the Minister of Finance, in particular, need to rectify this intolerable situation forthwith. It is having a negative effect on business in the country and causing undue stress to attorneys-at-law, their clients and the public, apart from being obviously unjust and unfair, and as well as exposing attorneys to unfair professional risks. Better can and must be done without further procrastination.

“The Law Association there­fore calls on the relevant authority to restore normalcy at the Stamp Duty department immediately,” the release sta­ted.

Attempts to contact Howai proved futile yesterday.

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