Senate passes 2022 Finance Bill

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Minister of Finance Colm Imbert – Photo by Sureash Cholai

The Finance Bill 2022 was passed in the Senate on Tuesday after a short debate. One Opposition Senator was heard objecting to the passage of the bill.

In his wrap-up of the debate, Finance Minister Colm Imbert clarified concerns raised by Senator Wade Mark during his contribution. Mark objected to the proposed addition of WASA, TTEC and TTPost to the list of entities supplying information under the Valuation of Lands Act.

Imbert said under the act, the Commissioner of Valuations (CoV) was conceptually empowered to access information from the Board of Inland Revenue, the registrar of the High Court, and departments of government. He said the gathering of information from WASA, TTEC and TTPost is the same, as the information collected will be the addresses and other pertinent information that the Commissioner of Valuations will require for populating the valuation rolls.

“The purpose for which the information is required will determine the type of information. What the CoV will want to know is what do the records of WASA say with respect to the owner or occupant of a property, the address of a property, the type of property, commercial or residential.

“Similarly, with TTPost, they would have information on addresses, and even more helpfully, GIS coordinates with respect to the owners of properties and lands in TT, which will assist the CoV to cross-reference the information the valuation division will have already.

“TTEC will have information on addresses, owners, occupants, and type of structure.

“All of this information will assist the commissioner to be as accurate as possible in determining owner, address, and type of property, So that is the only purpose of the amendment.”

The bill was not sent to a committee of the whole Senate, was read a third time and passed with no opposition.

Opposition Senator Damian Lyder was heard shouting, “Everyone of allyuh is coward,” and the Senate President asked him to apologise.

His initial response was, “I apologise for talking the truth and calling them cowards,” for which he was again asked to apologise.

He then apologised for his comments.