Colm Imbert

Minister of Finance Colm Imbert

The Gambling (Gaming and Betting) Control Bill, 2021 was passed in the House of Representatives yesterday.

Twenty-one Government members voted for the bill while Opposition members abstained.

On Monday, the bill was passed in the Senate, with 24 members voting in support of it, including the nine Independent senators.

The six Opposition members in the Senate abstained.

Speaking in the Parliament yesterday, Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the legislation speaks to a rehabilitation fund to deal with the harmful effects of gambling.

He said the bill states a committee will be established to administer that fund and will formulate guidelines with respect to the use of the fund.

The committee will within three months of the end of each financial year submit to the minister a report on the activities and management of the fund and the minister shall in turn cause the report to be laid in Parliament, he noted.

He criticised Opposition MP Dinesh Rambally for questioning how the fund would be operationalised.

Imbert accused the United National Congress (UNC) of ensuring that criminals are not removed from the gambling industry because of their approach to the bill.

What about problem gamblers?

But Rambally said the bill paid lip service to vulnerable people most affected and afflicted by gambling.

“I am sure half the population will frown upon this financial restructuring of the gambling industry if only because they feel gambling is a vice and it breaks up families and causes degenerative behaviour,” he said.

Rambally said while he understood the need for compliance and accountability in an industry as huge as this one, proper attention should have been placed on victims of the industry.

He said problem gambling, compulsive gambling or non-substance addiction is a real medical and mental health issue, which requires medical and/or psychiatric treatment.

He said the bill failed to fully recognise the deleterious impact of gambling addiction on the mental health of the problem gambler and his family.


Taxpayers have forked out close to $4 million in legal fees in the matter of Vertical Aviation LLC and the lease of the Sikorsky S76D helicopter by the former government.

Vertical Aviation had claimed the Government failed to satisfy its obligations under the lease by not paying rent and interest due for late rent payments, failed to replenish the security deposit after the aviation company applied the deposit funds to late rent payments, failed to enrol the aircraft in a tip-to-tail maintenance programme and did not maintain insurance for the aircraft.

Professor of molecular genetics and virology at The University of the West Indies (The UWI) Christine Carrington says while there are yet no confirmed cases of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in Trinidad and Tobago, it is only a matter of time before the highly transmissible variant is detected here.

Carrington was speaking during yesterday’s virtual news conference hosted by the Ministry of Health.

A 41-year-old woman remained in police custody yesterday, being questioned in connection with the murder of Maritime General and Fidelity Finance chairman and Piarco Airport corruption accused John Smith, 74, on Friday afternoon.

Around 4.30 p.m. on Friday, offi­cers of the Maraval Police Station responded to a call that there was a domestic dispute at a residence in Haleland Park, Saddle Road, Mara­val.

For decades, Trinidad and Tobago has battled a raging gang problem.

Successive governments and law enforcement have fought to reduce criminal organisations which have engaged in well-executed mafia-style illegal operations, including drug and gun running, money laundering, prostitution, extortion, and crimes like murders, robberies and even what are regarded as white-collar ventures.

THE manager at the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA) who cleared an employee of any wrongdoing following a complaint against him has signed an affidavit saying he was repeatedly called upon to change his findings in the matter.

He also said he was denied several requests to interview the Min­ister of Public Utilities for a “witness statement in the matter”.

What happened in the canefield was a planned and frenzied assault, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-­Hinds said, in deli­vering guilty verdicts yesterday on Sean Luke murderers Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo.

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