Last update: 12-Dec-2013 8:49 pm
Thursday, December 12, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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PM: We’re ready for by-election
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar says the People’s Partnership Government was prepared for a possible by-election and/or legal challenge to yesterday’s declaration by Speaker Wade Mark of the St Joseph seat being vacant. His ruling was made after an August 26 letter from Persad-Bissessar asking the seat be declared vacant after former justice minister Herbert Volney resigned with immediate effect from the United National Congress on July 30. Mark’s ruling was given at the end of yesterday’s House of Representatives sitting after yesterday’s budget presentation. Speaking with reporters after a Cabinet meeting at Tower D, Wrightson Road, Port-of-Spain, last evening, Persad-Bissessar said she did what she had to do based on the Constitution and the oath as Prime Minister. “The Government is prepared for any eventuality, whatever it be with respect to legal action or a by-election. Win, lose or draw we must do the right thing and should a by-election arise we do not fear that,” she added.
The PM also told reporters there would be no re-introduction of the property tax next year. She said the Government would draft new legislation to introduce an industrial tax on property for major companies in the country. She said subsequently the former lands and building taxes were to be re-introduced at 2009 rates for residential home owners. “There will be no property tax,” she insisted. “With respect to residential, we will take it back to the pre-2010 position before the property tax law was passed by the PNM,” she said. Legal Affairs Minister Prakash Ramadhar welcomed the development. He said the COP, which he leads, entered Government on an axe the Property Tax campaign. He said: “A promise is a promise and there should be no deviation from that. We are happy the matter has been clarified.”
Both Persad-Bissessar and Howai said the removal of the fuel subsidy for Caribbean Airlines would not lead to any increase in ticket prices. Howai said when the subsidy was removed the Government would make a capital injection into Caribbean Airlines. He said CAL would be able to borrow on its own. He said CAL would have to be more competitive with its fares. “There can’t be any significant increases that will put them out of the market and they just won’t be able to operate,” he added. Persad-Bissessar said as much as 50 per cent of the budget related to direct or indirect transfers and subsidies. She said the elderly, the young and the disabled in the country would benefit from the fiscal package. She said the man in the street would also benefit from the budget.
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