TTRA delayed until November; PSA pleased

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TTRA delayed until November; PSA pleased

The Public Services Association is pleased with the move by government to delay the rollout of the State’s new revenue collection agency, the T&T Revenue Authority.

The TTRA was due to come on stream on July 31st, but has now been delayed to November.

During a court management hearing yesterday, the Finance Minister indicated that an order will be passed extending the time for employees at the Board of Inland Revenue and the Customs and Excise Division to decide their future until November.

PSA president Leroy Baptiste, said the latest development will reduce the pressure placed on public officers who were forced to decide on their careers.

“This deadline was unfair, unrealistic, and unreasonable. It was oppressive because it came in the face of the PSA’s constitutional challenge to the legal validity of the TTRA and was an attempt to steal a march on the workers,” said the union.

During the case management hearing, attorneys for the State indicated that the Government had decided to extend the time, and as such the court gave directions and fixed the trial for October 5.

The PSA called on the Government to commit itself to allowing the law to take its course and demand due process, equity, and justice for aggrieved workers.

The union noted that this was a case of fundamental public and constitutional importance and was committed to taking the matter to the Privy Council.

“We believe that it is necessary for the highest court in the land to make a definitive pronouncement in this matter,” said the PSA.

The PSA had contended that the TTRA was unconstitutional and claimed it was susceptible to political influence. The union maintained that the case was not only about the plight of workers but also the rule of law.

“The PSA is of the clear and firm view that the TTRA is unconstitutional and illegal because it is susceptible to political influence, manipulation and control by the Minister of Finance. Such a politically compromised institution can never be in the public interest regardless of which party is in power,” it said.