The trinidad Guardian / Government is not backing down on the taxation measures for the gambling industry according Planning Minister Camille Robinson-Regis.
This comes as the T&T Members Club Association (TTMCA) last Tuesday signalled that the new tax measures would lead to the immediate closure of some of the casino establishments which would result in job losses.
Robinson-Regis was speaking to reporters after a post-budget conference hosted by the Greater Tunapuna Chamber of Industry and Commerce last week which was held at the Centre of Excellence, Macoya.
Stakeholders in the Gaming industry stated that the industry employs 9,000 directly and 30,000 indirectly.
The group is planning to take legal action as they say they were not consulted.
Last Friday, along with members from various maxi taxi associations and the trade union movement, a number of casino workers gathered outside of Parliament in protest against the proposed tax measures.
Stating that the Government has to act in the interest of the people, Robinson-Regis said, “if we were to consult them (the gambling institutions), they would say don’t tax us. We also have to look at what is best for T&T. All industries have been examined and the gambling and gaming industry has been examined, and that is the decision that we have taken.”
During his budget presentation, Finance Minister Colm Imbert had announced a slew of new taxation measures for the industry.
Addressing the issue of job losses in the industry, Robinson-Regis said, “we have heard that before (thousands of job losses when measures are introduced for the Gambling industry).
“You would recall when the Gaming and Gambling legislation was brought before the Parliament under the previous regime, there has not been any kind of job losses.”
On the issue of efficient collection of taxes, she admitted that the Government needs to make sure that its collection regime is improved and is already making steps to do that.
In a statement last Tuesday, Sean Clarke, President of the Union of Members Clubs and Lottery Workers wrote to the General Secretary, National Trade Union Centre seeking support from Michael Annisette to assist with preventing job losses.
In his letter Clarke stated, “the punitive income taxes that have been unilaterally imposed upon the Gaming Industry by Imbert in the 2017/2018 Budget will have an immediate downsizing and reduction in staffing requirements.”