By Stephen Kangal
January 29, 2017
There was a quite visible and audible dearth in the House possessive of the requisite international relations expertise to analyze and dissect the internationally illegal imposition of US- domestic FATCA on T&T from a foreign policy/international law perspective.
That important dimension after T&T has been an active international relations participant for 55 years of statehood/UN multilateral diplomacy/foreign policy-making is a blemish on our international image, national pride and reputation.
What was needed was at least one MP who would have been able to demonstrate how FATCA/IGA and the coercive methods being used to inflict it on T&T by a foreign imperialist government that is to say the Treasury Department/IRS of the USA. FACTA has compromised and indeed sabotaged the independent conduct of our foreign policy/ domestic law-making capacity to enlist T&T as an unsuspecting cog in the wheel of the extra-territorial reach of the US Treasury geared to prosecute US tax dodgers. Reciprocity is an after thought- an appendage.
That constitutes such a dangerous precedent to be further exploited by the Global Forum down the road that the current reluctance of the Opposition to support the legislation as allegedly urgent and pressing must be understood and appreciated.
For a party that just demitted the governance of T&T and that was actively involved in treating with FACTA since 2011 their reluctance to submit to the orchestrated exaggeration of the impending doomsday scenario by the Government would appear to be politically correct.
They should not be vilified by those innocent apprentices/political neophytes who occupy the garrulous and impetuous front benches of the PNM.
The Minister of Finance does not appreciate the intensity of the political embarrassment to T&T when he admitted in Parliament that he has been dodging bullets since the assumption of office as occurred during the 1990 rape of our democracy in the Chamber albeit a different one.
He has no problem with subjecting T&T to the use of American coercion, issuance of threats, illegitimate deadlines, grey-listing, black listing, undermining of the independence of our Parliament and the much-touted shutting down of T&T against all known international standard of diplomatic relations.
The Bankers Association, Amcham, the Chamber of Commerce and others could not care an iota about the territorial integrity, national pride and political independence of T&T once they can achieve their super-profiteering domestic agenda and business plans.
The 1969 UN Treaty on Treaties invokes the following principles as a background to treaty -making:
· Sovereign equality and independence of states in treaty making
· Non-interference in the domestic/parliamentary affairs of states
· Prohibition of threat of use of force/economic sabotage, deadlines, punitive actions etc
· Observance of human rights and freedoms
· Negotiating states parties must be actively involved in drawing up of text of treaties such as the IGA that is essentially a US imposition.
On the other hand the Charter of the UN also recognizes the following principles that have been undermined by the USA in its imposition of its tax-collection domestic law into our law-books:
· “…the principles of the equal rights and self-determination of peoples,
· of the sovereign equality and independence of all States,
· of non-interference in the domestic affairs of States,
· of the prohibition of the threat or use of force and
· of universal respect for, and observance of, human rights and fundamental freedoms for all…”
What invalidates the IGA is that coercion and threats against the financial integrity of T&T are used to force T&T to sign and conclude the Agreement that the Minister of Finance referred to as having dodge several bullets from the US Treasury. The text was a unilateral US-imposed draft.
It is patently clear that the US is in fact interfering in the domestic and parliamentary affairs of T&T and giving many unilateral deadlines (30 September 2015, 30 September 2016, 17 February 2017 and 30 September 2017) for passage of the Bill and completion of FACTA- compliant domestic procedures. If this is equality of states T&T does not want to be equal at all.
Parliament is doing the bidding of the Americans rather than the people of T&T in the most obscene display of the Big Stick on foreign soil Imbert complying and assenting to this rape of the democracy of T&T whilst his political stocks are in terminal decline.
All of these considerations must render the FACTA/IGA null and void and of no effect by an international tribunal.