Gov’t can proceed with plans to establish TT Revenue Authority

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Gov’t can proceed with plans to establish TT Revenue Authority

It’s a go for government and their plans to establish the TT Revenue Authority and do away with the Inland Revenue Division and Customs and Excise Division.

On Monday evening, High Court judge Betsy-Ann Lambert-Peterson dismissed an injunction application from customs officer Terrisa Dhoray seeking to postpone the implementation pending the determination of her substantive case over the move.

The judge said: “After weighing the relative risks in granting or refusing the interim relief sought, I have concluded that the Defendant should not be restrained, even by interim relief, from exercising its statutory powers or doing its duty towards the public at large.”

Justice Lambert-Peterson added that Dhoray’s challenge over the validity of the move was not so “firmly based” to justify the injunction. She also noted that Dhoray’s lawyers failed to prove that she would suffer irremediable harm without the injunction in place.

“To grant interim relief in the circumstances presented by the parties is likely to do more harm than good since the Defendant’s case appears to be stronger than that of the Claimant,” Justice Lambert-Peterson said.

Dhoray is challenging the constitutional validity of the T&T Revenue Act 2021, which prescribed the long-touted shift.

She is contending that certain segments of the legislation are unconstitutional as they seek to interfere with the terms and conditions of employment of public servants currently assigned to the CED and IRD.

The lawsuit specifically focuses on Section 18 of the legislation which was proclaimed by President Christine Kangaloo on April 24.

The section gives public servants three months to make a decision on their future employment upon the operationalisation of the TTRA.

Affected public servants have the choice to voluntarily resign from the Public Service, accept a transfer to the TTRA, or be transferred to another office in the Public Service.

After the proclamation, employees of both divisions were given TTRA employee information packages and were given a timeline for the TTRA’s implementation, which was suggested to begin in August.

Presenting submissions on the injunction, last Friday, Dhoray’s lawyer Anand Ramlogan, SC, claimed that the Government was going ahead with its plans despite the pending application.

“We are saying that if they transfer they would no longer be public servants or enjoy the protections associated with such. This affects thousands of workers,” Ramlogan said.

He also maintained that the TTRA was not immune from political interference as touted.