“Lord I plead with you today that you will help our parliamentarians to do what they must do to get the FATCA bill passed and we thank you in advance for saving our country from the possibilities of the failing of this bill,” prayed Pastor Leslie Moses of the Seventh- Day Adventist Faith.
He also prayed that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar would work together for the financial stability of the country and for the eradication of drugs, guns and corruption in the land.
Moses was praying yesterday as part of the Government’s “Day of Prayer and Thanksgiving Programme” held at the Grand Stand, Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of- Spain.
The Tax Information Exchange Bill 2016 is necessary for this country to be compliant with United States’ Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).
Finance Minister Colm Imbert, while speaking with the media following the event, reported that after the budget they will proceed with the legislation.
“In the meantime I am hopeful that we will get a response from the US authorities next week,” he added.
He explained that the counterpart was out of the jurisdiction and is returning into office tomorrow.
He reiterated that if the bill was allowed to fail they would have had to wait six months which would have taken them to March or April “and then we would have really been in jeopardy”.
Asked what would be “Plan B” if no extension was granted Imbert responded “let’s deal with it one step at a time”. He explained that he has asked the US Treasury for the extension and personally gave a letter to the US Ambassador to TT John Estrada who has gone to Washington on other business “and he did give me an undertaking that he would speak to the US Treasury himself ”.
“Let’s just be very deliberate about this and we will carry on in a professional manner. Because the last thing we want to do is to give the United States the wrong message.
You know we don’t want to be flippant about this and we don’t want to do anything to cause the legislation to fail,” he added.
Asked what message he would have give to concerned citizens Imbert responded, “let’s wait and see what happens next week”.
Minister in the Ministry of Attorney General and Legal Affairs Stuart Young, speaking to the media following the event, stressed that it was the previous administration that approved the model and said the legislation should be settled.
“We have tried all that we can do at this stage in the Parliament,” he said.
He reported that being a responsible Government after the first breakdown of conversation on the Monday after they first laid the legislation, they requested of the US Government an extension of time.
“This is something that we are not alarmed about. But we do feel a very great sense of disappointment when the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago including ourselves and our 23 votes have been put in this situation where we are now waiting to see what next. Whatever the Opposition wants to call it I think the population of Trinidad and Tobago saw yesterday (Friday) what had happened,” he added. Asked if there was no extension granted from the US what would happen Young responded that “we are not into speculation, we are a responsible Government and let’s cross that bridge when we come to it”.