Anna-Lisa Paul and Bobie-Lee Dixon
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Duke: Treasury workers back on job Monday
Employees at the Treasury Division of the Ministry of Finance and the Economy will resume their full eight-hour duties on Monday. This was confirmed yesterday by president of the Public Service Association Watson Duke. "This came after we did a walk through at the Treasury Building. We recognised the efforts made," he noted.
Duke also took issue to claims of attack on employees by senior officials at the Judiciary and the Sugar Industry and Labour Welfare Committee. He said the attacks violated Section 20 (2) and Section 20 A of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. He promised to fight on behalf of the workers for equal rights for justice. Yesterday, the Law Association of T&T (LATT) condemned the ongoing disruptions at the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR).
It called for an immediate intervention by the Minister of Finance, Larry Howai, to ensure its full operations be returned. The association’s president Seenath Jairam, SC, said in a statement yesterday the ongoing impasse had put the public and the financial and banking sector at great risk of financial loss.
"This disruption in service poses a serious financial risk to the public by hindering the ability to stamp and register deeds and preventing the financial sector from processing loans, mortgages and bills of sale in an efficient manner with the attendant imposition of fines and penalties for delays in stamping and registration of deed and other security instruments," he noted.
Jairam also expressed disapproval with the daily closure of the BIR offices in Port-of-Spain by 10 am, skeletal service of no more than ten people by number a day and the arbitrary imposition of limits on the daily number of transactions to four deeds a person. On April 17, the Law Association met with the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Finance when discussions were held with the hope that the full operations of the BIR office would have resumed on or about May 1.
On March 18, BIR employees walked off their jobs, citing occupational, safety and health reasons. "Instead, the situation has continued unabated and has substantially deteriorated since the very first interruption in service on March 19," the association said. Duke, commenting on the issue, said they were having meaningful discussions with the permanent secretary of the Ministry of Finance. "The discussions are most likely to bring fruit," he added.