UNC senators on Finance Bill: $$ for PNM, obeah

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

UNC Senator Anil Roberts –

OPPOSITION senators Wade Mark and Anil Roberts claim that measures in the Finance Bill 2023 were designed to benefit PNM financiers and active practitioners of obeah.

They made these claims in their respective contributions to the debate on the bill in the Senate on Tuesday.

In his contribution, Mark asked who were the people who stood to benefit when the bill was passed.

He did not believe any of the provisions in the bill benefitted the poor or the working class.

Some of the provisions in the bill included a cyber security tax allowance for companies that invest in cyber security and a tax allowance for companies that provide corporate sponsorship to public and private schools registered with the Education Ministry.

Mark alleged the bill was designed to benefit PNM financiers.

“It is almost like a bonanza for the PNM.”

Referring to a newspaper article, Mark claimed that some of the allowances being offered to companies through the bill could be paid to “people who are talking with the dead.”

He questioned how scarce foreign exchange could be used by people to engage in such activities in a foreign jurisdiction.

Senate President Nigel De Freitas told Mark that this matter was not relevant to the debate.

“You are going into a realm that is not relevant to us.”

Mark said Massy Holdings CEO and president Gervase Warner needed to explain this situation.

He reiterated the UNC’s opposition to property tax and that a future UNC government would abolish the tax.

Later in the sitting, De Freitas disallowed attempts by Roberts to claim that the Prime Minister made obeah-related comments in 2011 when he was opposition leader.

“That is not allowed. Period.”

Roberts said he was not raised to be a superstitious person.

But he added that he could not ignore allegations that people were spending foreign exchange in other countries to participate in bizarre rituals.

“I am scared. There is an evil that pervades the society.”

Roberts claimed that this “evil” is responsible for the level of crime that is taking place.

He described the bill as “the pass the buck bill” because the Government was seeking help from the private sector to do its job.

“The PNM does not work.”

Roberts reiterated the UNC’s call for Dr Rowley to immediately call a general election.

He predicted the UNC would win that election and “move them (PNM) from there (government), obeah man and all.”