Casino tax motion has been passed in Trinidad and Tobago as it is believed that casino gambling is becoming the leading cause of leakage of foreign exchange in the company. Finance Minister of Colm Imbert last week took the initiative of passing the motion in the country, and the Provisional Collection of Taxes Order 2017 was moved later on that day.
After a lot of hustle, the motion was finally passed around 11 pm with some amendments made by the Government.
Imbert, who firmly believes that to stop money laundering and criminality in his country he must support the Opposition party to support the tax measures imposed on the casino industry in the 2018 budget. He also said that owners of such establishments like casinos and other games that involve an enormous amount of money and they often use Western Union, Money Gram and the black market to covert the foreign currency secretly or far from government's knowledge.
“You have people who have no means, man of straw walking to a Cambio with $30,000 to change it into China or the US and who knows whichever country they send it. This is happening, every day because these games deal in with a lot of cash. They don’t even have bank accounts,” he said. He also further added that as most of the casinos are not allowed to have bank accounts, these casinos deal with cash and they send in their workers those witless ones, who come to the court and parliament and speak their words, the same ones who misbehave in there as well. These are the same ones who came shouting outside my house. These workers are sent with $30 and $50,000 in their pockets to change that money into US dollars first, and then that money is exported to China, Turkey and Indonesia or a list of different other countries. Imbert said the measures imposed on the casino sector could become permanent if the Opposition did not support moves to regulate it.
“They can be as cantankerous and obstructive as they need to be. They can be as flippant as they need to be. They can be as inaccurate and just plain wrong in what they say as they wish to be but this is an interim measure which will become permanent if the members opposite do not,” Imbert further added.