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PM: No plan to kill Port-of-Spain
Government has no plan “to make Port-of-Spain a dead city,” Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar said yesterday at the American Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting at the Hilton Trinidad hotel in St Ann’s. She said she wanted to dismiss claims that Government is diverting investment away from Port-of-Spain to south Trinidad in a bid to render Port-of-Spain a dead city.
“Port-of-Spain is our capital city,” she said, adding that urban development of the nation’s capital will continue unabated. However, she said, development must be equitable and take place throughout the country and that is why increased infrastructural investments are taking place nationwide. She also addressed concerns that T&T was no longer selling as much natural gas to the United States. “Everywhere I go, they want our gas, so there are other markets out there,” she said.
Fresh from her trip to Panama to attend an edition of the World Economic Forum, she reiterated Panama’s request to be allowed to purchase “all the gas we can sell.” On the shale gas revolution that has affected T&T gas exports to the US, she said she was sure T&T would not have a problem finding markets for its gas.
During her address, she also responded to calls for T&T to sell gas to its Caricom partners at the same sell price in T&T. She said T&T could not afford to do that and that it would not happen. Guest speaker Dr Susan Kaufman Purcell, director of the Centre for Hemispheric Policy at the University of Miami, said T&T need not “think about the US as a market over the next decade.”
Asked during the question and answer segment if sustainable growth would continue in T&T beyond 2015, she said, “I don't know why 2015. It must be that 2015 is going to be a very potent year.” After the audience laughed at that remark, she added, “The assurance I can give you is that sustainable growth will continue to 2015 and beyond.” On the internal elections process of the UNC, she said, she is still awaiting the final draft of the new constitution of the party. She said there will be no elections until that constitution is finalised.
Asked her opinion on the First Citizens Bank (FCB) share sale by a former senior executive now under investigation by the T&T Securities and Exchange Commission (TTSEC), she said she was still awaiting a report from Finance Minister Larry Howai. Persad-Bissessar said she received a letter from the TTSEC chairman, which she passed on to the Attorney General.