The association spoke on the issue during a FATCA media conference held yesterday at Scotiabank Centre, Portof- Spain. “(Today) is D-day. (Today) we’ll better understand on both sides of the aisle — are they going to put Trinidad and Tobago first?” asked BATT President Anya Schnoor.
She also commented on Parliamentary debate on the legislation on February 13. “Unfortunately what I heard was a total misrepresentation of what this bill is trying to achieve, yet again we are forced to come here to debunk, what I guess we can now all refer to as, the fake news about FATCA.” She noted there was a lengthy discussion on whether the private and confidential information of local citizens would be infringed upon and also questions about the integrity of the entire banking sector.
“Let me be very clear here. The only information that will be reported to the BIR (Board of Inland Revenue) is the account information of US persons only.” She added: “To suggest otherwise is simply ‘fake news’.” Asked about Opposition Leader Kamla Persad- Bissessar writing Trump about the possible repeal of FATCA, Schnoor pointed out that it was passed in 2010 by the US Congress as a part of wide ranging legislation.
So it’s law in the US.
There is no possibility that the President of the US can write an executive order because executive orders cannot overturn the laws of any country including the US. So we are not aware of any initiative in the US to overturn FATCA. And even if there was an initiative the point is FATCA is law today and therefore we have to comply with FATCA today.” Schnoor said the time has come for us to put aside our political differences and do what is in the best interests of Trinidad and Tobago.
Bankers Association Vice President Nigel Baptiste stressed that with or without the passage of the bill, the information on all individuals with US marks, who are clients of the local banking sector, will be submitted to the Internal Revenue Service in the US.
“If the TIEA is not passed, then each of the local banks, who have already signed bilateral agreements with the US will begin to supply that information from September onwards,” he explained.
He further explained that the banks will have to get the consent of the affected individuals and those who do not consent will be de-marketed by their respective commercial bank and unable to do business. He said the passage of the bill makes it administratively easier for all involved and reduces the risk of individuals being de-banked.
“What this means is that any individual who was supporting the non-passage of the bill because of concerns re their privacy are doing so in vain.”