One issue where there is no more hope of negotiation or appeals is the recent CCJ judgement on the matter of stamp duties. The CCJ ruled that two parties can fix a consideration for a land transaction and that is the fair value of the land, which the Commissioner of stamps cannot challenge. That ties the hands of the Commissioner of Stamps to institute and enforce re-assessments of land sale values, and could dramatically affect the government's revenue. Today we asked the PM - himself a former lands Minister - if he's concerned that some may use this to try and cheat the system.

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
"Well, yeah, but certainly something of concern. I think that the commissioner of stamps, Ms Noreen Fairweather, who has lots of experience, was doing it the right way and in effect, ensuring that government can get the right revenues, but the law is the law, if the CCJ is seeing that the commissioner of stamps does not have that authority, then we just have to follow the law."

Reporter:
"But it does mean a loss in revenue, and there's the whole insinuation that buyers and sellers can be in cahoots. And I think fingers are pointed at the banks in their auctions and such."

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
"Well, some of that does occur but I do believe that they are going to be checks and balances and that this does not allow a landowner to say, well, I just buy this million dollar property for $100,000. It does not allow you to do that because then you then can challenge as the commissioner of stamps you will be able to challenge to see what the buildings around that area are valued at such or have been selling at that. So it can't be that if this is a million, all of a sudden you only sell for $100,000, an exaggerated example. But just to make the point, it does not mean open season for everybody. We will still have the opportunity to be able to review what you put as the charge. And if we believe that it is too low that we want to challenge you and then you go to court."

Reporter:
"So in this case, it has been lowered the payment, the stamp duty fee. There may be others who come, who challenge it as well and go all the way, basing on this."

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister
"Of course, it is not something that that we are happy with but we have to live with, what we have. And if the courts have made a ruling, then we would live with that."

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