Persad-Bissesar: Opposition not to blame for failure to pass Anti-Gang legislation

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the Government is playing politics with crime and blames yesterday's breakdown of law and order in East Port-of-Spain on the inability of the Government to get crime under control.

The Opposition Leader says in a statement that the Opposition is not to blame for the failure so far to pass the Anti-Gang legislation and insists that the Government only needs to agree to a sunset clause of two years for the Opposition's support.

Persad-Bissesar issued the following statement on Tuesday.

Young: Eight official trips by PM cost $2 million

The bill incurred by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley's official traveled abroad between June 2016 and November 2017, amounts to just over TT$2 million.

Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young gave the details of the prime minister's travels in answer to a question posed on the order paper of today's Senate sitting.

The exact amount between June 1st, 2016 and November 20th, 2017, was $2,025,323.32 for eight overseas trips.

The Minister gave the breakdown as follows:

Talks on anti-gang legislation stalled between government and opposition

There is still no agreement between the opposition and government on the time frame of the sunset clause of the anti-gang legislation.

The opposition and government met today to discuss the opposition's concerns about the bill.

The opposition maintains that the sunset clause is critical in preventing the abuse of power by law enforcement officials.

The opposition raised several issues including its call for Joint Select Committee of Parliament to facilitate wide consultation on the draft legislation, however, the government declined the proposal.

Govt bringing Anti-Gang bill to House again

Government will be pursuing the Anti-Gang bill again.

And this time Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley hopes Government and the Opposition can work out the areas of concern the Opposition has on the bill. Last year, the T&T Police Service had asked the Government to bring the bill to Parliament to aid them in getting murders and gang activity under control. However, the proposed bill failed last December due to lack of Opposition support. Proposals cannot be returned until six months after a bill’s failure.

Church, charity, school bodies still exempt from Property Tax

It’s official: property used by churches, educational and charitable institutions will continue to be exempt from the Property Tax Government intends to implement this year.

Finance Minister Colm Imbert confirmed this yesterday following queries about a clause in new proposed Property Tax legislation which was laid in Parliament last Friday. Also presented was new Valuation of Land proposals to effect the VOL act. Both pieces will be debated later on.

Galleons Passage to be handed over to T&T on Wednesday

The new ferry to service the seabridge, the Galleons Passage will soon be on its way to T&T.

A post from the Twitter page of Finance Minister Colm Imbert at 9.36 pm on Monday night says; "Galleon's Passage almost ready for delivery inChinaa. Delivery is now set for Wednesday February 7th 2018."

The Galleons Passage was purchased by the government for US$17.4 million and would have by now undergone final sea trials between the ports of Guangzhou and Dongguan in China.

The vessel to be used on the seabridge accommodates 700 passengers along with 100 vehicles.

Revamped Property Tax proposals from Govt

s Property Tax looming for properties used for religious, educational and charitable purposes?

The areas—so far exempt from the tax—are spotlighted in new proposed Property Tax legislation laid last Friday.

New Property Tax proposals, plus new proposals concerning the Valuation of Land (VOL) act, were part of a supplemental package laid in Parliament.

The proposals concerning the VOL involve a revamped Valuation Return form, seeking expanded details about properties.

115 unsponsored bands get $1.3 million in Gov't funding

One hundred and fifteen (115) unsponsored steel bands have received cheques to assist them in their operations.

Minister of Community Development Culture and the Arts, Dr Nyan Gadsby-Dolly, has already presented Tobago’s cheques to Carlan Harewood, Pan Trinbago representative from the Eastern Region, due to the unavailability of the representative from Tobago.