The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) has admitted that it needs to make improvements to its response to natural disasters following the aftermath of Tropical Storm Bret.
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Lawyers concerned over closure at BIR
The Law Association is adding its concern about the closure of the stamp duty department and also of the closure of the cashier at the Board of Inland Revenue office, Port-of-Spain, owing to ongoing industrial action. In a release yesterday the association said it had received complaints from several attorneys-at-law about the closure. “Legal documents (such as conveyances, mortgages, bills of sale, etc) are not being and have not been stamped for the last few days and therefore cannot be registered as required by law so as to protect lenders, banks, financial institutions, purchasers and indeed the public generally,” the release said.
The association also urged Government and Finance Minister Larry Howai to deal with the problem immediately. “It is having a negative effect on businesses and causing undue stress to attorneys-at-law, their clients and the public, apart from being obviously unjust and unfair and as well as exposing attorneys to unfair professional risks. Better can and must be done without further procrastination,” the association said. Employees have refused to work, citing health and safety issues.
The affected offices include Trinidad House and offices of the Board of Inland Revenue, both on St Vincent Street, Victoria Court on Queen Street and the District Revenue Office for St George West on Independence Square. In a previous interview Public Service Association president Watson Duke claimed he had witnessed several health and safety violations during his tour of the buildings, leading him to sanction the walkout under Section 15 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Finance and the Economy Minister Larry Howai had said 176 BIR staff were relocated to the Eric Williams Financial Complex, Port-of-Spain.