Can FATCA Pass the International Jurisprudence Test?

By Stephen Kangal
January 29, 2017

Stephen KangalThere 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.

5 Responses to “Can FATCA Pass the International Jurisprudence Test?”


  • The statement that “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.” might find some accommodations and even acceptance among those of us who may be personally subjected to FATCA no doubt about that. But to then accuse the government of being “innocent apprentices/political neophytes who occupy the garrulous and impetuous front benches” in pushing the the opposition to FATCA too far. What exactly does the writer of this article expect the government to do? Oppose the law of the United States and say that “we will not accept it”? To do so will subject us to the reality of U.S law which says that not to accept will subject us to a 30% surtax. To accede will subject us to report or be subjected to an audit of how we dispense with currency that we hold in U.S dollars.

    It is very easy to understand the reason for the opposition to the FATCA bill by the UNC. If and when enacted, it exposes them (the UNC financiers and parliamentarians) to scrutiny. If it were to be passed, it avoids the 30% taxation on our U.S financial transactions which can amount to countless amount of hundreds of millions in U.S currency. If the UNC support the bill WE ARE ALL PROTECTED FROM THE extra taxation of 30%. If they fail then we all go down the drain and seemingly the fortunes of past UNC parliamentarians will be protected. That is the meat of the matter.

    We either pass FATCA and allow the pressure of 30% extra taxation to be averted or we allow the the U.S assets of UNC parliamentarians to go without any visible means of accountability. The writer, while not exactly saying so wil l obviously go for the latter. It is cliche to say “innocent apprentices/political neophytes who occupy the garrulous and impetuous front benches of the PNM” are allowing this to happen while the truth is that is is U.S law tracing how it’s currency is being used. This bill should not be about partisan politics
    it’s concerns should be about trade, the education of our children in foreign universities, foreign exchange, real estate (both internally and externally), conduct of foreign transactions etc. The reason why the U.S is doing this is because it is ONLY their money that is being used as transferable currency by most of the world nations and Trinidad and Tobago is one of them.

    Who is the UNC top say that the U.S should not audit transactions using their currency as THE ONLY ACCEPTABLE FORM OF PAYMENT? By their reluctance to support the bill 1.5 million people is being punished for the protection of a few UNC parliamentarians and their financial supporters because their assets in foreign lands are questionable. To avoid that fact is to be hypocritical of the true opposition of the bill – plain and simple.

  • T&T may have no choice in the matter but at least we must be made aware of the huge price that we are paying at several levels just to avoid the sword of Damocles. It is a question of justice, international law, political independence and sovereignty of T&T being denied just to get taxes to be paid in the US by upgrading the BIR at a cost of $40m to fulfil this imposition.

    • Stephen, what about the sovereignty of the United States to make laws about how it’s currency is being used around the world? While I personally might echo your comments on how it affects my personal transactions, the United States have the right to track all transactions using its currency for whatever reasons it might be used for.

      Very weak argument Stephen!

  • I seriously doubt that this would have been your stance if Kamla wanted this Bill passed. Stephen, I maintain that you continue to loose credibility when you apply such lopsided and myopic reasoning to important issues. TRUTH No. 1 – In 2014, kamla signed T&T onto model 1 of the IGA. We had a choice then. She chose. The consequences of that choice included (1) the benefits of Banks not forcing us ALL to agree to allow disclosure if we want to do business with them, (2) the government must enact the FACTA Law which after all the recent amendments will enable disclosure only in relation to US citizens AND (3) severe penalties should we fail to enact FACTA – which means our reneging on a signed agreement; such penalties WILL negatively affect us ALL. TRUTH No.2 – You can talk all the international law theoretical mumbo jumbo you think you know, you cannot invalidate the IGA Kamla signed. TRUTH No. 3 – Kamla always intended to renege on the commitment she signed in 2014; she just wanted to then delay the banking sector imposed disclosure arrangements. TRUTH No. 4 – The current leadership of the UNC is a clear and present danger to T&T.

Leave a Reply

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.