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Factoring the Costs of FATCA Compliance into the Debate
Posted: Friday, December 30, 2016

By Stephen Kangal
December 30, 2016

It would appear inevitable that T&T will, in the face of a doomsday scenario, be forced to become FATCA-compliant in the shortest possible time according to the shifting deadlines unilaterally issued by the IRS/Treasury Department. But in quantifying the current and future costs of FATCA compliance one must go beyond the costs to be incurred by individuals, companies, local banks and other financial institutions and the potential loss of their billion-dollar profit margins.

We must also factor in the huge losses/blemishes that the diplomatic and international image as well as the Exchequer/economy/investment climate of the country T&T will suffer.

Additionally the populace is subjected to the anxiety generated by the confrontation between the Government and Opposition and conduct that is unbecoming of a Government that does not seem to understand its role in negotiating balance of power politics to get constitution amending or infringing legislation passed with the three-fifths majority.

What loss of value can we place on the regressive diminution of our sovereignty, political independence and the independent functioning of our Parliamentary democracy by the use of duress, reprisals, threats, interference in our internal affairs etc? Our integrity as a nation-state is under attack from an external force bull-dozing its way on us with threats and reprisals associated with the Munroe Doctrine of yesteryear.

Are we still living in a globalized village, borderless world with reasonable expectations for mutual respect and interdependence of nation-states that are being dismantled as a cost to us by FACTA dictat?

The current debate seems to be revolving exclusively on the axis of blind, pro- country FACTA loyalists versus partisan Opposition-based politics. Many are claiming conveniently to putting country first by their indiscriminate short-sighted definition of the imbroglio and support, most notable of which is the Bankers Association.

The media reinforced and fed by the PNM propaganda machinery is promoting the view that the PNM Government has developed a patriotic stand. It has the ultimate and exclusive responsibility to achieve passage of the Bill with the requisite three-fifths (26) majority. Hitherto it has failed to mobilise Opposition support by influencing it positively.

The fault for this FACTA fracas lies exclusively with them and them alone. They are the Government according to the late Makandal Daaga.

The PNM has been conducting itself in a most impetuous, politically partisan, irresponsible and adversarial manner using Parliament to derive cheap political mileage by discrediting the Opposition at every turn. They even reneged on their JSC agreement. That is not the strategy that will compel and evoke the support of the Opposition - a sine qua non to the passage of FACTA 2016 Bill. Bad mouthing the Opposition is counter-productive to your legislative agenda on Constitution-amending bills. You have to stop this fruitless impulsive tirade/jihad Faris et al.

Although the PNM dominates the corridors of power the electorate has imposed limits on the legislative reach/power of the Government. This the political neophytes cannot appreciate being bogged down by the old immature politics of confrontation and disrespect. Three mainstream media editorials have zeroed in on this. They have criticized the PNM for its wanton persistent display of garrulous political immaturity.

So far all that the PNM regime has been doing for fifteen months is piggy-backing on the legislative legacy left by the PP (Bail, Gambling, SSA, FACTA Bills). They have been complaining about lack of automatic support from the Opposition while conducting themselves in a confrontational almost bull-dozing modus operandi. That is not the road map for good effective governance Prime Minister.

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