Gaming sector can afford taxes, exploiting workers -T&T AG

(Trinidad Guardian) The gaming community is wealthy enough to afford tax measures since one casino rented a location for $450,000 monthly and kept it empty for “umpteen years” just to block competition, says Attorney General Faris Al- Rawi.

He spoke about the matter in Thursday budget debate in Parliament saying casino workers should not be exploited or threatened to come out and protest.

He said during last Wednesday’s protest by casino workers, a government worker passing through the protest, was told to sign a book or they wouldn’t be paid.

Al-Rawi, who said he once worked for people in the gaming community, added he found it conspicuous that casino owners aren’t coming forward and workers are being sent out to protest.

“I want to tell workers: don’t be used as a scapegoat . The gaming community is wealthy enough to afford the measures being effected. There’s room for adjustment and there’s no reason to threaten workers. Gaming sector workers are being exploited,” he added.

“Hold strong, Government is aware of your position. As the regulatory movement pushes out, the industry, it’ll settle itself,”

On recent Port dismissals, the AG said, “When you see public servants being sent on leave or dismissed, it’s not by mistake.”

But he said when Government sought to eliminate corruption the Opposition said the State was attacking public servants.

Al-Rawi also said former Defence Force members alleged to have robbed the Defence Force have admitted to guilt and the police were yet to charge them. He said his office had taken action in the issue of the former Defence Force members, froze their accounts and recovered their assets and “They admitted to guilt.”

His office is also probing the matter of a door which cost $76,900 . He said this was akin to matters in the Piarco Airport cost overrun issue when a door’ s value was given as $80,00.

Al-Rawi criticised UNC MPs for statements abut “400 nationals” joining Isis and T&T nationals found in Iraq. He said international partners pay attention to that and foreign media pick it up and T&T is later incorrectly dubbed the place with the highest number of Isis fighters.

He said Government has listed 341 people under anti- terrorism laws and listed one person from T&T based on United National evidence.

He said several major corruption matters are in the court. “But any ‘mark’ we have to buss, we bussing it in court,”he added.

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