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The government can breathe much easier today as the United States has extended the FATCA deadline to September 30, 2017.

Minister of Finance, Colm Imbert, made the disclosure in Parliament on Monday during the continuing debate on the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA).

But Imbert spoke only to his Government colleagues, as the Opposition Members stayed away from the debate.

Speaking during the debate on the Tax Information Exchange Agreements Bill 2016, Imbert said he sought and obtained a further extension to September 30, 2017.

“That’s two chances we’ve been given by the United States, I do not think we’ll get another one,” he added.

​Opposition continued to stay away following their demand for a Joint Select Committee to discuss certain clauses in the Bill after Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar led a walk-out on Friday, the second to occur during discussions on the Bill.

Opposition remained in a separate room, watching the Chamber via social media.

He slammed Opposition’s absence, adding that if there was a matter Opposition wanted to debate it should have been discussed at the session.

“All of the seats opposite are empty. This would now be the fourth or fifth time that the Government has come prepared to debate amendments proposed by the Opposition and pass the FATCA Bill.

“They had no intention of supporting this legislation. Rather than be here, dealing with the people’s business, they are upstairs, somewhere, watching this entire presentation.

“As a citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, I really don’t understand what they are up to.

“However, this matter is too important to allow it to be undermined.”

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