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Advice to Roget: Do a ‘Duke’

Friday, July 22, 2011

Political philosopher Ayn Rand stated that when two opposing groups have the same basic principles, it works to the advantage of the side with the rational position: when the principles are shrouded in secrecy, it works to the advantage of the irrational side. In the ongoing impasse between the Government and Ancil Roget and company, who has the rational position as against the irrational one? The Government is saying that it cannot pay more than five per cent because the Treasury is empty. 

The budget was predicated on an oil price of US$65 per barrel. Yet, oil prices have been more than US$100 per barrel for months. Remember, every dollar increase in the price of oil means $100 million for the Treasury. So why can’t the Government pay? In addition, the price of gas at the time of the budget was about US$2.60 mmbtu. It peaked about US$4 mmbtu since then. Every dollar increase in the price of gas is $1 billion for the coffers. Despite all of these unexpected revenues, the mantra is still: the Treasury is empty. If commodity prices have been high for all of these months, some one please educate me how is it still possible we would have a deficit budget of $8 billon at the end of this fiscal year?  Must oil prices soar to US$200/barrel before we can be in the black? Where the money gone?

What rational arguments have the labour leaders provided for removing the cap of five per cent? Ancil Roget has not articulated the economic justifications for removing the cap. If Roget and company do not want to come off their high horses, our twin-island republic could become another Greece where we would not be able to pay our bills. Roget, a piece of bread is better than none. Take your five per cent and run. Your Midnight Robber talk about shutting down the country is best suited for the Carnival stage. So you shut down the country, what next?

If Roget wants to play hard ball, the Government just has to refer all industrial matters to the Industrial Court where a decision takes as long as five years and that would amount to a virtual wage freeze. Do you want that Roget? If you continue to ride that high horse, only you would pay that political price which you have espoused on so many occasions and not the PM. Do a “Duke” and sign for the five per cent and let us proceed to rebuild this country.

John Jessamy