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Doctors upset over removal of tax exemption
More than 400 doctors from the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) are upset over the removal of motor vehicle tax exemptions from their joint collective agreement. At a news conference held at the San Fernando Medical Library yesterday, acting president Dr Ravindranath Narine claimed the decision to remove the tax exemption was taken unilaterally by the Chief Personnel Officer Stephanie Lewis without consultation with MPATT, the recognised trade union.
“Doctors held a meeting to discuss this document sent to us from the former permanent secretary in Ministry of Health, advising that RHA doctors will no longer be entitled to partial motor vehicle tax exemptions,” Narine said. He added, “Doctors, like other employees, are travelling officers, and they have to work beyond the hours of 8 am to 4 pm. They may have to work at other health care institutions in other regions. This has been in existence since time immemorial and is one of the few benefits that are given to public travelling officers.”
Narine explained that in 2005, after consultation with the CPO, it was agreed that doctors would get the tax break. “That was previously arranged by the then permanent secretary in the Ministry of Health, Reynold Cooper, who is now head of the Public Service. During his tenure, in a letter dated June 16, 2005, he arranged and confirmed the partial exemption to be arranged for public officers,” Narine said.
He also said MPATT planned to write to Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan explaining the problem. Khan, who is abroad, told CNC3 news yesterday he was seeking to have the tax exemption reinstated and would meet with the doctors to addresss their concerns.
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