The government of Trinidad and Tobago has gotten the go-ahead for the Revenue Authority from the High Court of the country. This was after the Public Services Association (PSA) was defeated at the High Court in a constitutional claim it brought against the introduction of the Trinidad and Tobago Revenue Authority (TTRA) Act.
High Court Judge Justice Westmin James dismissed the claim after finding in favor of the State that the introduction of the TTRA was not unconstitutional, as was being claimed by the PSA through its member, customs officer Terrisa Dhoray.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert took to Twitter to announce the government’s victory at the High Court: “We just won the substantive Revenue Authority lawsuit. The Court dismissed the claim made by the PSA and its agent that only public servants within the mainstream public service should assess and collect taxes.
The constitutional challenge to the TTRA Act was also dismissed.”
Customs officer Terrisa Dhoray contended that certain sections of the act were unconstitutional, as they sought to interfere with the terms and conditions of employment of public servants currently assigned to the IRD and CED. The claim was mainly based on section 18 of the legislation that was proclaimed by President Christine Kangaloo on April 24. Section 18 requires employees at the IRD and CED to decide whether they would be voluntarily resigning from the public service, accepting a transfer to another public service department, or agreeing to be transferred to the TTRA. Dhoray’s contention was that should the TTRA be implemented, then it would result in political interference and control over employees who are currently protected by the Constitution so that they can carry out their duties in a professional and independent manner.
The purpose of the TTRA is to replace both the Inland Revenue Division (IRD) and the Customs and Excise Division (CED).