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It is disgusting and highly offensive for Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart to suggest that there was something improper about the waiver of stamp duty and property transfer tax pertaining to the merger between Barclays Bank and CIBC, to form FirstCaribbean International Bank.
These levies are payable on the beneficial transfer of ownership of property from one party to another. However, the previous owners before the transfer, namely the shareholders of the two banks, were the same as the subsequent owners of the new entity.
So whereas the way the law may be written would make the levies payable, as a practical matter it would have been manifestly unfair to enforce the law in this case because there was no beneficial change of ownership.
For any Minister of Finance, it would have been one of the easiest tax waiver decisions to make.
Therefore, to try to cast aspersions that something was amiss is to try to mislead the electorate.
To hear former Prime Minister Owen Arthur add fuel to the [matter] was quite sickening. He could have said that he recused himself as a shareholder, but on the face of it the transaction was legitimate. Instead, by saying only that he was not part of the decision leaves the impression that something nefarious had taken place.
The way this issue has been handled by both the Democratic Labour Party and Mr Arthur is beyond disappointing . . . .
I expected nothing different from the current administration, but Mr Arthur’s part in the affair shows that he is still playing . . . politics. His legacy as a respected elder statesman now stands on very shaky ground.
How can anyone accept the credibility of anything he says regarding this election?
– DAVID BRATHWAITE