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Balgobin: Boobies business booming
The breast-enhancement business is busting out all over T&T and some people are “living it up Gangnam style,” says Independent Senator Rolph Balgobin. Speaking in yesterday’s 2013 budget debate in the Senate, Balgobin pointed to booming breast-enhancement businesses as a sign of what he deemed the culture of entitlement which abounds in some quarters while a 16 per cent poverty level exists simultaneously.
Balgobin added: “They are living it up in a very viable way. You have Porsches, people are buying breasts and BMWs. There’s a very big breast implant business in T&T. You don’t have to go to Margarita. I ran into people who tell me they have a big issue to debate: What size they going with. Fifty thousand dollars! You know how much poor people you could feed with that?”
He said someone had called him to get a number for an official to get a special number plate for their new Porsche. Balgobin added: “You not just grateful you have a Porsche? You have to have a special number plate too? Gangnam style! Everybody living it up.
“There are parts of society that are living it up in ways that are painful to me and several of these people don’t even pay their taxes but you can easily find people who have no toilet or running water or lights in T&T. “I live in South and I can show you people bathing from a bucket at the side of the road or from a barrel of water. The sense of entitlement in T&T is killing us,” Balgobin said.
Saying the budget came at a time of rising concerns about the economy, tensions in society and challenges for democracy, Balgobin said too much of Government’s money was tied up in “unproductive things and unproductive people.” He said some demands on Government were unfortunate.
He challenged Government not to give any contracts to gang leaders or criminals. Supporting moves to halt waste in the GATE programme, Balgobin said the dollar-for-dollar programme should have not been stopped, since people were taking courses, failing and simply going on to other courses, without understanding the privilege of free education.
Balgobin said he would like to see labour leaders trumpeting as loudly about productivity from members as they did about pay hikes. “Too many sectors of society are playing for themselves,” he added. Balgobin said Tobago’s revenue was less than the Port-of-Spain Corporation’s, yet there was a Tobago demand for billion-dollar allocations.
He added: “There’s a major productivity problem there... what have you been doing with the money? Things have to get going. But I say no more, in case they ban me from Tobago.” On governance, Balgobin said T&T’s institutions were weak and sycophantic and corruption “reeks and is stink” in some parts of society. He said the Judiciary was “flat on its back” since it was starved for funds like other institutions.
He questioned what was next after T&T had thrown out one government after another “and our best and brightest continue to disappoint, yet want congratulations,” he added. Balgobin noted the state legal brief obtained by the COP chairman recently and the National Security Minister’s modus operandi. He said there was serious “work to do” and the finger-pointing blame game was untenable.
Saying the budget was vague, Balgobin said he did not feel the economy was stable. He urged Government to closely monitor rising expenditure and expressed concern that the projected one per cent growth rate would be easily eroded by local or international circumstances.
He also questioned the $9 billion education allocation, since he said less than half the population could read and write and illiterates were being churned out in the name of high enrolment figures. Balgobin said he did not see how Government could reach a balanced budget by 2016 as promised without austerity measures. “Our overspending has hardened too much that it’s going to need a mini-boom between now and 2016 to pull us out,” he added.
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